Stories from Growing Up: Have you ever heard the silence?

We stood across each other at the kitchen counter. You were much better at averting eye contact than I was, a mastermind at holding ground in petty wars. I looked up at your face, searching for something beneath the hostility.

I looked for the right way to break the ice, wondering how you were doing or making a joke. There was no room for speaking.

Three months, this time. Three months of your silence to teach me a lesson, to teach me that you were right and I was not.

Three months of the door closed, the passwords changed, you staying up late so you could avoid us.

My mom used to tell us it was our job to fix it, to make things better for him. We were supposed to wave a white flag that was not ours, to let him know that this was okay and we didn’t have to talk about what happened.

I am confused about what sorry is for, if not a mechanism for smoothing things over.


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