Stories from Growing Up: The Worst Possible Thing

One time, when they were finished fighting, I walked out of my room to see him sweeping up broken dishes from the kitchen floor. As if the moment was disappearing because he was cleaning up. As if what happened didn’t permeate the entire house.

The fighting felt like the worst possible thing. Like my heart sinking out of my chest and the world was falling apart. I thought that was the worst thing, but the honeymoon phases always rolled back in. I could do my best to roll with it.

I could not bear being left behind. They had a blowout fight. She collected my siblings, intending to leave. I told her that I didn’t want to go, I was scared, so she left me.

I watched her go up the driveway with everybody but me. I watched her decide that it was more important to make a statement than to love me. I watched her decide that it was okay to leave me behind in a situation that she herself didn’t want to be in.

That was the new worst possible thing. Being the one left behind.


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