[COPYRIGHT © 2011 Vicky Claerbout]
Downstairs the yelling didn’t stop, and the longer it lasted, the worse it would get. This was the second time this week that Lars’ father was drunk when he came home, too drunk to know what he was doing. It had never been this bad before, and somehow it only seemed to be getting worse.
As soon as the front door opened, Lars had been able to tell that tonight would be bad. Never had he been wrong before, and tonight wasn’t going to change that. His father had screamed at his mom before he even entered the living room. The accusations echoed throughout the whole house, and Lars didn’t even know the meaning of half the things his father was so enraged about.
It took Lars no more than one look from his mom to know she was in trouble. Even though Lars wanted to be there for her and comfort her, he knew he couldn’t. A couple of weeks ago, his mom made him promise to go to his room when she and his father had an argument. Argument, that’s what she said. It was nothing more than a small misunderstanding and they’d work it out, but there was no need for Lars to worry about any of it – or so his mom made him believe.
“Hurry!” His mom whispered urgently while she opened the door that led from the kitchen to the hallway. And just like he promised his mom, he hurried upstairs to give them some privacy.
Nearly at the top of the stairs, he could hear the sound of glass breaking and halted abruptly. Silence was never a good sign, and at this very moment, there were absolutely no sounds to be heard. Although he was in a frozen state, his mind was running wild. Did he have to go check downstairs? Was everything alright? Did someone get hurt? Were they angry at him?
Soon enough his father’s voice bellowed something about whoring around again and Lars knew they weren’t done yet. While wondering what “whoring around” meant, he quickly entered his room and closed the door firmly behind him.
“This is my fault,” Lars muttered to himself. He covered his ears with his hands in an attempt to keep the sounds out as he sat down on the floor, hidden between the nightstand and his closet. This place had been his hiding spot for the last year now, but no matter the amount of time he spent there, it still didn’t feel safe enough.
With his eyes closed to keep reality away, he silently rocked back and forth – or at least as much as the small space allowed him to move. To distract himself, he imagined what it would be like to be born in a different family, to have other parents and maybe even a brother or sister. He wished he didn’t have to deal with all of this by himself. Having someone to play with when his parents didn’t have time for him was another dream of his.
In this other world, his secret world, Lars has a twin brother and an older sister. Clay and Lars aren’t bad kids – they just love to taunt Jennifer. They secretly hide her make up or cell phone and then wait for her to notice. Jennifer’s hysterical outbursts are what make all the trouble they go through worth the while. There’s nothing more fun than being chased by your sister all around the house, especially when you know that your father’s work place is your safe haven. Both the parents know that the twins are only little boys trying to have fun, that’s why they simply laugh Jennifer’s fury away.