by R.T. Allenson

Thoughts racing in her mind, her heart beating faster. The images flood her senses with color and sound and she closes her eyes and remembers..

She was seven years old when she first realized it, when she first found herself stepping out of the bubble of innocence that coddled her, when she found out that there were things in the world that would and could hurt her. She remembers it very clearly – the sharp ringing sound of skin meeting skin and the howls of pain that came after, the thunderfall when bodies fall to the hard wooden floor. The tears of pain and desperation; her mother groping desperately to escape from her father looming before her. His hands were clenched tightly into a fist and though she never knew, she anticipated what would happen.

And it did and she never was the same afterwards.

She was silent for the rest of her childhood, talking only when it behooved her to do so – like if her mother would ask what she wanted to eat or when her father would ask her how school was. She spoke to them as any good child would, but otherwise she was quiet. Looking back,she was afraid something might happen again – that she might hear the echoing of thunder once more.
She never understood how the two of them, her parents could hide behind a veil of falsehood when the marks were he hit her were as plain as day. But she never did say anything; far better, she reminded herself, to be innocent and unaware than to hurt and know everything.

But she was twenty-five already and she was no longer a child. The same scene was playing out before her, this time with her as the mother and the father, her husband, the love of her life – his hands were balled up into a fist, clenched so tightly that the veins, she saw, were a deep crimson she thought they would pop; secretly she wanted them to, but memory is a cruel thing and there were pleasant things as well amidst the quagmire of pain and hurt that her mind drifted to. A cacophony of thoughts were racing in her mind, her heart beating faster with each memory that she relived. The images were flooding her senses with color and sound and once more, she closes her eyes and remembers…but she was no longer hiding behind the corner of the hallway peering sheepishly as her parents spat poison at each other, no longer small enough to hide under the table and shelter her ears from the upcoming storm. This time it was her and the anger, the pain and the vehemence in each word he threw at her was real.

Reality woke her from her reverie. She opened her eyes and faced the darkness alone and the sound of thunderfall came afterwards.