Saturday, June 7, 2014

Post Two Hundred and Twenty Three: Walls Don't Talk, I Do.

My mother and fathers marriage, although surviving multiple decades before combustion, was of even greater volatility. I say this as if I was there from the start, but I was born long after any fires of passion had turned to suspicion and contempt between them.

They lived through each day's task list just to get to the next, it seemed, struggling against each other as if morbidly motivated by the decay of their intimate lives. I loved them individually and more so with any glimpses of reciprocal joy that my sisters and I could harvest from them, but after seeing them throw garden tools at each other and speed away in the Fairlane clash after clash, I very quickly assumed that marriage was not an effective constitution for the role modelling of healthy interpersonal relationships. I knew that something was really off when we tried to take some friends to the movies in the City. I might've been about five years old. It was school holidays and my parents rallied up us three girls and our mates, which seems a difficult task in itself in retrospect and all fairness. We took the train from Wanneroo to Perth, but by the time we'd pulled away from the station Mum and Dad were casting vehement looks at each other from across the aisles. We blocked around to the cinemas and I think they got into a massive fight about what money they were using to pay our friends movie tickets with, so before we had a chance to grab our tickets Dad took off and Mum was sobbing uncontrollably, with seven kids staring at her, wide eyed. She tried to chase him down, pleading him to validate her argument, and we scrambled behind in tow all the way back onto the train and back to Wanneroo, without the social credit of seeing The Rescuers Down Under in the big smoke. My big sister kept asking me to shush every time I asked a question, but it was clear to me that I wasn't the only one wanting resolution.

I didn't grow up with any expectation that my parents would want to share their lives with me after I reached an age in which I could fend for myself, perhaps because I sensed that the family dynamic was already strained beyond the powers of my intervention and thus destined to break apart before I got a chance to stitch anyone or anything back together. If the walls of our family home could talk they wouldn't yell, and if they had fingers they wouldn't point. The fear of the walls breaking apart and exposing our weaknesses was possibly the mortar holding my parents together all that time. Unsurprisingly, we had mixed reactions to their ultimate divorce, even if it took the GFC for them to find a reason to call it quits that lay outside of their own emotional deadlock. I felt relief, and not unlike a vulture I picked through the decomposition to find two unique parents in which to develop new individual relationship frameworks with.

I don't believe that everything happens for a reason. Things happen in which we find reason, and sometimes this is in order to forgive.  It's harder to talk about things close to home, and that gives reason enough to place a high importance on sharing them.


  1. thanks for sharing this intimate vignette of your childhood; it must have been difficult to write. Childhood is fraught and so weird because we know no differently and even when deep inside it feels wrong, we had so little to tell us we were right. Unlike now when it's all over the news and the media-lots more kids are being helped out of the kinds of stuff you and I grew up in not knowing anything else and no one reaching out to help.

    Now that both my parents have passed away, Mom in January and Dad in May of this year, perhaps the time to work thru some of these long-standing issues is at hand...


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