I remember the way he use to come home. Starched collar, clipped hair with stress held in his jaw. He would never talk about it then. We were too young anyways. But now I see more of him. He is not the only one. They laugh with their mouths, but not with their eyes. Is this what it was like for him? The expectations, the responsibilities, the energy of being pulled in multiple directions. Is this why he snapped his fingers for us to be quiet?
There must have been two of him. One at work and one at home. Which one was better, I wonder.
Now he drinks every night swearing he is different than the rest.
He’s the best!
But I see his trauma.
I see the way he holds back when he wants to love, but doesn’t know how. I can practically hear his pain with every clink of the ice cubes hitting the glass.
I wish he knew I see him!
I see him through every broken memory like it was yesterday.
“Brooke, that windows not clean enough. Start over.”
“Brooke, why did you burn the bacon? You stupid girl!”
“Brooke, why did you only get honor roll when the other kids got principle’s list?”
“Brooke, are you sure you want to wear those shorts? You have cellulite.”
His trauma has become my own and I have carried it with me every day pleading one day I would be enough.
But there is no enough.
It is all a lie and I know that now.
We are all broken, one way or another. And the only way I can move past it is by believing he was doing the best he can. Because right now, I am doing the best I can.