Sunday, November 29, 2009

Home is a War zone

The house I grew up in was a warzone, and all of us casualties. Some of it was stealthy, guerilla type war fare, with acts of war carried out in a million silent, yet painful ways. One had the feeling upon walking into the house that they must be ever vigilant against attacks. Some of it was all out war, with guns and mouths ablazing. Usually it was alcohol fuelled, and after the bombs stopped raining down, and each side retreated to their corner to lick their wounds, there remained a certain 'shell-shock'. Although the explosions happened with regularity, one never became accustomed or innured to it. Each battle left you spinning around, frightened with a sense of doom. The brief periods of quiet, were much like that eeiry quiet between bomb shelter alarms. The quiet in the epi-centre of the storm.

Our house is like that now. My sister and her boyfriend (ex boyfriend?)  stuck in a war with neither able to make steps forwards to the future. To make decisions, to make peace. And whilst the periods of quiet guerilla warfare are stressful and tense (days without words), the raging battles like tonight scare the hell out of me. Particularly since the boyfriend has been drinking all day. I like him, but he is in a bad place right now. he doesn't want to break up. So he uses every weapon he can find against her. Including me. Today it erupted because a side door in the house was left unlocked when I walked directly across the road to the service station to get some milk. I was gone a maximum of 10 minutes. Sure, I made a mistake not checking the door, but I locked the front and back doors, and didn't even think to check the side door, as I never use it. But realistically, the fight is not about locking doors, even if he thinks it is. Its about communicating to each other, and at the moment the only way they seem to be able to do that is through screaming, threats and ultimatums. It takes me immediately back 20 years. I want to be here and support my sister in whatever decision she makes, but the heaviness of the house is helping to drag me further under, encouraging more anxiety, more flashbacks, more hypervigilance. I just want it to be over one way or another.

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