The chaise lounge was upholstered with a chenille African-looking fabric. There were different shades of brown in it along with some olive green; there were random elephants on the print. When I was younger I would lay on that sofa for long periods of time, naming each of the elephants. I especially loved doing that on rainy days, because I loved watching and listening to the rain outside the window that was next to the sofa. But now I was seventeen, and far too old to be naming elephants on our chaise lounge.
It was a rainy day and I had been watching them argue through the window. It wasn't much of a surprise these days; they argued over everything, from what we should eat for dinner to where we should vacation. The littlest things seemed to set them off. Sometimes it seemed like a game they played, seeing who could upset the other first.
I looked out the window from the elephant lounge; they were standing in the pouring rain, soaking wet of course, arguing over God knows what. They had gone together into town to pick up a pizza for dinner. I seemed to be the only intelligent one in our house, because I knew right from the start that this pizza trip was just asking for trouble. They argued for several minutes over what kind of pizza to get. This wasn't the first time we had ordered pizza for dinner. I mean, come on, everyone eats pizza. So why did they have to argue over goddamn pizza toppings every single time? Seriously.
My stomach growled and I rubbed it as if I was comforting a child. I got up and walked over to the front door. Sticking my head outside I yelled, "Can you bring your argument inside so at least I can start eating? I'm starving." They both shut their mouths and turned their heads to look at me for a moment. Without anymore words they carried the pizza inside.
So meet my family- dad, mom, and Lucy (my goldfish, because mom and dad couldn't agree on a dog). Dad is the chief editor at our town's local newspaper. The Springland Tribune had seen better days, and it was hard on my dad. With the town's economy going through a rough patch, the tribune was quickly losing customers. My mom was a realtor and, like my dad, frustrated over her lack of business. Despite my mom's talents in sales work, prices of homes skyrocketed so no one was buying. And Lucy? Well she's nice, although I don't even know if "she" is really a she. I really wanted a dog, but my parents stood in front of the pound's twenty-seven cages and argued over which dog to bring home. So we brought home no dog and later that night I bought Lucy from Wal-Mart.
Sometimes I just wished that my parents would get a divorce. Then maybe I wouldn't have to listen to them argue over pointless things for hours on end. There had been many times when mom stayed overnight in a hotel and threatened to leave for good, but she always came back the next day. There had also been many times when my dad came home from work long enough to grab some fresh clothes and then head over to his widowed mother's house to sleep on her couch. It truly was pathetic.
We were eating our pepperoni-mushroom pizza in silence. For some families it might have seemed awkward, but not at our dinner table. After having a fight it was typical for my parents to not speak for a while. It never seemed quite fair to me that I had to suffer the repercussions from their arguments, like sitting through dinner in silence. I attempted to break the tension. "Do you remember how I used to sit on the elephant lounge and name them all?" I smiled softly.
Dad looked at me and smiled, but it wasn't genuine; mom mumbled an "Mhm." I sighed inwardly. I grabbed my plate of pizza and stood up. "Since you two aren't talkative, again, I'll be eating dinner alone in my room. At least the silence there isn't tense." My parents stared at me as I walked out of the kitchen, but they said nothing. They knew I was right.
On a Saturday a couple of weeks later, I woke up around ten-thirty in the morning. Usually I woke up way before then because I could hear my parents arguing. I opened my bedroom door and stepped into the hallway even though I was only wearing underwear and a t-shirt. "Dad? Mom?" I heard something that sounded like sniffles coming from the kitchen.
My mom was sitting at the kitchen table, head resting in her hands. A mug of untouched black coffee sat beside her. I put my hand on her shoulder and she looked up at me. I could tell she'd been crying for a while because her eyes were puffy and bloodshot, her face red. "Another fight?" I asked, a little dryly. I was used to waking up to similar situations before.
"This time is different," she said, choking a little on her sobs. She motioned towards some papers on the counter. I walked over and inspected them- divorce papers. Emotions of married couples were something I have never been able to fathom. All my parents did was fight, so why was she crying? Maybe the reality had just hit her really hard.
It wasn't like anything I'd seen in the movies as I read the papers. Tears didn't spring to my eyes and my stomach didn't "drop." It was like I had almost expected this. I gave my mother's back a quick comforting rub and a sympathetic look; then I returned to my room. I had homework to do before Monday, and finally now I could complete it in a peaceful house.