She is on the bus on the way home from school and her neighbor turns around in the seat in front of her and leans over and whispers “So my Dad said your Dad is looking for apartments. What’s that about? Are your parents getting a divorce or something?” A huge, ginormous, ugly pit formed in her stomach. She laughed. “I don’t know! Crazy!” She’s only nine; she’s not sure how to respond to that.
When she gets home, it’s just her and her sister. She has time to snoop. Her Dad has an office in the basement, she’ll start there. She finds a diary. It is like a snake on fire because she does not want to touch it. She absolutely does not want to know if it’s true. But then again it’s like the golden key that’s dangling in front of her. She HAS to look. She has to. She must know.
She sees the words “divorce” and crumbles.
She doesn’t know what to do with the information. She obviously can’t tell her Mom…what if she doesn’t know? She can’t talk to her Dad. She only knows one person at her school who has divorced parents. Maybe she can talk to her. No, she can’t. She’s too afraid to say the words outloud. If she tells anyone, says anything to anyone, it will be true. Scary true. So she just keeps it to herself.
One day her parents call her and her sister into the family room. She just knows in the bottom of her heart what’s coming. She giggles nervously because she’s so uncomfortable she doesn’t know what to do. Both of her parents are crying. Her Mom is trying very hard not to, but there are tears. Her Dad is sobbing. She’s never really seen either of her parents cry like this before. She just knows the words are coming.
And they do.
And they hurt.
And she’s certain it’s somehow her fault even if she can’t pinpoint exactly how.
She must protect her little sister from all this hurt that is going to come bearing down on them now that the nasty word is hanging out there in the universe. She is only five after all. How will they make it through? What will people think? How will it work? How will she survive on the days when she doesn’t get to see her Mom?
It’s too much. Too, too much.