It was silent as we drove in the dark. It was uncomfortable and it made a pit form at the bottom of my stomach. I didn’t know what to do. All I could do was fidget and I could tell that my sister was getting tired of me moving around. The silence was deafening and I needed some form of conversation or noise. Music would do. The quietness of the car made me feel alone even though there were three others in this car with me. I let out a loud sigh, trying to see if someone would speak or say something but my dad just looked through the rearview and then looked back at the road. I sighed for real this time leaning my head against the window and frowning.
After nearly thirty minutes in silence, we arrived at a place we were all familiar with. The park. We would have picnics twice every month at this particular park and when my mom or dad wasn’t working we would come here just for fun. We got out of the car and followed our parents to a table and sat down. The seats were cold and I shivered. Our parents stared at us before looking at each other. A look passed through my mom’s eyes then vanished in an instant. She looked away from my dad and back to us with a forced smile.
“Nous avons quelque chose à vous dire,” My mom said. (We have something to tell you)
My sister and I waited patiently and my dad sighed. He didn’t look like he wanted to tell us whatever it was. His eyebrows furrowed creating deep lines in the space between them and I started to worry. “Que se passe-t-il?” I asked. (What is going on?)
“Nous..um,” my mom started, “are getting a divorce,” she finished her french accent thick. (We..um)
My sister and I stared at her for a while not comprehending it at first but as the words replayed in my head it dawned on me. A divorce. They’re splitting up. I never thought my parents would ever get a divorce. They hardly ever fight. They have never shown signs of being unhappy with each other or unhappy with their marriage. What happened?
“Pourquoi?” my sister, Emma asked. “Qu’est ce qui c’est passé?” (Why? What happened?)
“Cela n’a pas d’importance pour le moment. Nous avons juste pensé que nous devrions vous le faire savoir,” she said. (That doesn’t matter at the moment. We just thought we should let you know)
“Mais ... mais pourquoi? Pourquoi ici à notre endroit préféré?” I had to ask. (But..but why? Why here at our favoite place)
They brought us to our favorite place to tell us that their marriage was ending and that our family was falling apart.
“Votre mère a également pensé que ce serait une bonne idée de vous laisser choisir avec qui vous vivez,” my dad said. (Your mom also thought it would be a good idea to let you choose who you live with)
“Nous devons choisir?” I asked, tears filling my eyes. (We have to choose)
I didn’t want to choose. I wanted to live with both of them in the same house. “Ouais, je suis désolé chérie,” my mom said. (Yeah, I’m sorry honey)
A single tear slipped and I wiped it quickly. I wiped both of my eyes and sniffed.
“Je ne comprends pas. Qu’est ce qui c’est passé? C’est juste si soudain,” Emma said. (I do not understand. What happened? It’s just so sudden)
My mom looked at dad and he looked away. “Parfois, il y a des choses qui ne peuvent tout simplement pas oublier,” she said. (Sometimes there are things that you just can’t forget)
“Pouvons-nous rentrer à la maison maintenant,” I whispered. (Can we go home now)
“Si c’est ce que tu veux,” dad said. (If that’s what you want)
Emma and I simply nodded and we went back to the car and drove home. When we got home I immediately went into my room and cried into my pillow. They were splitting up and we had to choose which parent we wanted to live with. I didn’t want to choose. I didn’t want to make the other feel sad like I had a favorite because I love both of my parents equally.
“Tu me mens depuis des années!” my mom yelled. (You’ve been lying to me for years)
“Qu’est-ce que j’étais censé te dire? Hein? Il n’y avait pas moyen pour moi de vous le dire. Une façon qui vous garderait ici au moins,” my dad said. (What was I supposed to tell you? Huh? There was no way for me to tell you. A way that would keep you here at least)
“Comment as-tu pu me laisser tomber amoureux de toi? Tu es un ... je ne peux pas te croire. Et tu as le courage de t’asseoir ici et de me supplier de ne pas y aller,” (How could you let me fall in love with you? You are a ... I can’t believe you. And you got the courage to sit here and beg me not to go)
“Je t’aime, Theresa! Pourquoi voudrais-je que tu partes?” (I love you, Theresa! Why would I want you to go)
I got out of my bed and sat by my door on the floor. Listening to them arguing made me cry. This has probably been going on for weeks and Emma and I didn’t see it. How could we not notice our parents weren’t happy?
“I can’t. Not with the lifestyle you live. Not with the kind of person you are,” my mom said in English.
Her English got better and better each day. She has been teaching Emma and me English for about two weeks now. Our English isn’t nearly as good as hers but we try.
“Je suis toujours le même homme que tu es tombé amoureux de, Theresa,” (I am still the same man you fell in love with Theresa)
“Non, tu ne l’es pas. The man I fell in love with doesn’t do what you do. He would never do such heinous things. Tu es un monstre!” (No, you are not. You are a monster!)
It went silent. I could tell that my mom’s words hurt him. I heard a door slam and jumped in fright. My door opened and it hit me in my face. I hissed and grabbed the side of my eye. “I’m sorry Rain, Est-ce que ça va?” Emma asked. (Are you okay?)
“Yeah, no I’m fine,”
She closed my door and sat down on the floor beside me. We sat in silence before she spoke. “Depuis combien de temps pensez-vous qu’ils se battent comme ça?” (How long do you think they’ve been fighting like this?)
“Je ne sais pas. This could have been going on for a while,” I said. (I do not know)
“Do you think they’ve only been staying together for us?”
I didn’t answer. I didn’t wanna think about the possibility that they had been so unhappy because they were worried about us. “Qui vas-tu choisir?” she asked. (Who will you choose)
“Je ne sais pas encore,” (I do not know yet)
I don’t know what to do. I just hope that everything will be okay after all this and that our parents can get along to co-parent.