I hide when they fight, my eyelids concealing the palor of my very eyes. My heart races at an uncanny beat - a sound almost audible from the room adjacent to mine. I've realized they'll be doing this for a while. I crept slowly from underneath the bed when the shouts of anger and cries of sadness died down until reaching their demise. I walked slowly to the peak of the staircase. I was terrified of the man I was to call "daddy." I heard the door slam and my mother run after him in the failed attempt of stopping him. I walked down the stairs - slowly - at no one's pace but my own. My mother was sitting on the couch, her body moving back and forth as I heard muffled cries. I reached for her face and gazed down into her eyes - her beautiful, beautiful eyes - now worn out by troubles and what not. Tears trickled down her cheeks and landed on the rug. I took my place beside her and put my arm over her shoulder. She wrapped her arms about my waist and for a moment, no one spoke. The silence was succeeded by more muffled cries.
"Mama," I managed to say. "Mama, please. Please be well enough to take care of me."
I had picked out a few words from the quarrel. Mama was going to die from some sort of cancer. Mama shook her head and pulled away from me as she realized I knew her secret. She got up from the couch and just stood there, shaking her head momentarily. She clasped her hands over her mouth, barely making her crying audible.
I, too, ran outside. I didn't want my mother to see me upset. I ran - for nowhere in particular. Just running away from this place. I tripped over a fallen twig and fell. I rocked back and forth on the sidewalk, crying. I was so sad in this world. All by myself.... I wrapped my arms around my knees and continued to rock back and forth. A tenant from one of the nearby rental homes heard my cries and came out with a broomstick. I got up, dusted myself off and started running in the direction towards home. That man's eyes were deadly and meant business.