The Gun

The Gun

I do have memories of what a normal Christmas was like but then I have this Christmas.

I don’t remember the Christmas tree or the presents. We were dissolving as a family and there was no money for presents. It was just another day that we were out of school which meant we were at home. The longer you were at home, the higher chance you had getting yelled at, hit or made fun of by my mom.

We stayed quiet that day and mostly hid in our rooms. Mom had started drinking a little early and that didn’t usually play out too well for us. Fortunately, she had started seeing someone and would go to his house for hours. This gave us a little freedom to breathe. She left the house in the afternoon on Christmas and didn’t come home until 8pm or so. It was nice. We watched tv all day. She had called me earlier to tell me she was heading home and I quickly put my siblings to bed before she arrived. This increased their odds of sleeping peacefully instead of getting chased with a belt before going to sleep.

When she walked in the house, she was really down. I think her new boyfriend went to spend time with his parents and she was left to just come home to her kids. She asked me to sit with her while she told me all sorts of terrible things about my dad from when they were newly married. I listened and I really didn’t want to get on her bad side.

Around 10pm she got a call from a friend that told her my dad was at a local bar with his girlfriend and having a great time. She was infuriated, lonely and stuck with these kids. She yelled out her frustrations to me but eventually determined that I was useless to her efforts. After all, these were complex adult issues concerning both of my parents. I was a naive teenager who was barely staying alive.

She quickly went to her room, grabbed her gun, made sure there were enough bullets, and looked at me and said, “hey, go to bed, I’ll see you in the morning, I’m going to see your dad.” Just like that, my angry mom, took off into the night with a gun on Christmas Day.

I didn’t sleep. I sat on our couch and stood guard over the house. We were so vulnerable. I didn’t know if I would ever see my parents again. Would I have to become the parent? What would happen to us? Why is all of this so crazy? I stayed up all night and around 5 am I saw her car lights pull into the driveway. I quickly scurried off to bed but my heart was racing. She came in the house and slammed the door shut. I could hear her walking by my door and checking in to see if we were all asleep. Thank God we were???

Next, she called her boyfriend, woke him up and cried for the next few hours on the phone to him. I understood this to mean she did not shoot my dad and it was okay for me to go to sleep. My evening watch was over.

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