I sat down in the farthest corner of my room and hugged a pillow over my ears. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to hear the shouting. I heard the muffled sound of something flying into the living room wall. I couldn’t quite make out what the object was but I knew it had to be a piece from my mother’s cherished tea cup collection. She loved those with all her heart. The sound of each cup shattering was a special kind of pain for her. Each cup was a small fragment of her heart and as each cup broke, so did her heart. I knew he would try to fix the problem though. I knew he would order an exact replica of the set. I knew this wasn’t the end and that this was a never-ending cycle.
I heard a heavier object caress the wall. It was probably his phone. My mother knew that was as much a part of him as his arm. I distantly thought that I would have to recount the number of cracks on the cover of the phone. What was the last count? Six? Seven? Well now it would be a lot more. My mind compared the teacups and the iPhone. Antique and modern, cracks and shatters filled my thoughts.
As soon as I heard the screaming die down and a door slam somewhere in the house, I picked myself up and slowly crept down the stairs. I saw the fragments of a broken heart lying all over the floor. I grabbed a broom from the closet and began numbly sweeping away the remains of my mother’s heart. While I was cleaning, I had a sudden flashback.
“I don’t understand.” I stated numbly.
“I know honey, but you will when you’re older.” replied my aunt as she stared distantly in the direction of my parents. They had just ended another vicious cycle of love. Love. That’s what my aunt explained it to me as.
“I think it’s stupid.” I scoffed.
“You’ll learn soon enough. When two people commit to each other, it means they commit everything. They love each other, but love can also lead to anger. It’s normal for this to happen.” she explained.
A sharp pain brought my attention back to the present. I had stepped on a jagged piece of a teacup. I picked up the piece and stared at it as hard as I could manage, as if staring at it would suddenly fix everything. I felt a new surge of incoming tears burning in my eyes. Burning. Fire and water at the same time. I bit my lip and ran outside. I grabbed my helmet and dragged my bike out of the musty shed. I just needed to breathe for a bit.
I raced across the town until I reached the entrance to the trail. I decided to ride my bike until I felt numb again. I needed to feel the wind rush into my face and the burn in my thighs as I furiously pumped my legs. I flew across the trail until I saw only numbers in my head. 1 mile. 2 miles. 3 miles.
I was still counting in my head as a supernova of pain erupted throughout my body and I vaguely registered my body leaving my bike and flying across the trail. I was still counting as loose gravel cut into my face. I stopped counting when the only thing I could register were the reds and yellows of bright, bursting pain spreading throughout my body.
I vaguely registered a voice yelling at me. I heard a few “oh God’s” and a smattering of other religious expletives.
“Oh my God you’re gushing blood!” I heard from a panicked voice behind my head. At least I thought it was my head. I couldn’t really tell because my head felt like my feet and my fingers hurt as much as my toes. My eyes closed and the darkness behind my eyes collided with the colors of pain so that all I could see in my mind was a vibrant painting with the likeness of Botticelli.
The next thing I remember was a blinding white light shining into my eyes. I groaned and my mouth felt like cotton, not the soft and fluffy type of cotton, but the rough and dry type.
“Oh thank God you’re awake! What were you thinking going biking so far!?” exclaimed my mother, sounding relieved.
“It’s a miracle that nothing worse happened to you, ammu!” continued my father. He had put his arm around my mother, who looked as if she had been weeping for the past few hours. The two of them were identical in stature. Dark circles under the eyes, grave faces mixed with relief, and mismatched clothes which had been thrown on in a hurry decorated their bodies.
My thoughts slowly waded through the swamp that was my mind. How were they in the same room as each other? Hadn’t they just finished tearing each other down? It was too much for my mind to handle, so I attempted to say something intelligent.
“I think I crashed.” I groaned. My father chuckled as he ran his fingers through my hair. Even my mother cracked a smile.
“Why are you guys suddenly not arguing?” I inquired politely.
“Because we don’t need to anymore.” Replied my mother. We don’t need to anymore. So would this continue for the rest of their lives? Fire and water colliding and creating brilliant but dangerous explosions. I thought back to what my aunt had said: “You’ll understand some day.”
I didn’t think I wanted to at this point. Why would you ever stay in a situation that tears you down and builds you back up simultaneously?
I turned my head to the wall of my hospital room and studied the details, even though there were no details to be found. A blank white wall kept me company that night. A blank white wall kept watch over me as I dozed off. The blank white wall was still there as I entered dreams of blazing fire and soothing water.
Fire and water, not so different after all.