A Heated Argument – an Open Speech
The crashing sounds of wine glasses followed soon after the shattering of the expensive Ming vase. Emily crouched even further into her corner, willing her mind to stop taking in the sounds of her parents arguing again. She could not remember exactly when these arguments first started, but she always knew how they invariably ended. Mummy would send the bedroom door banging as she retreated in anger to that refuge. Daddy would come by and hug her before leaving the house for the next few days.
Emily thought back to the first argument. It started soon after Mummy had come back from the hospital. She had looked wan then, such a far cry from her usual radiant and beautiful self. The first thing she did was to take Emily into her arms and squeeze her hard. Emily remembered wriggling irritably, making little noises to show Mummy her discomfort. But nothing she did then registered Mummy’s mind. Suddenly, she felt strange dampness on the collar of her dress and struggled free to look at Mummy’s face. Her make-up had streaked all over her face, obviously ruined by her tears. At that moment, Daddy walked in and started speaking to her. She kept shaking her head and refusing to listen. In the end, Daddy was so angry that he stormed out of the house.
From then on, increasingly, Mummy would smash things around the house whenever they argued while Daddy would seethe with impotent fury. Later on, Emily learned that Mummy had lost the baby brother who was living in her stomach.
Now, she was awakened from her thoughts when a missile shot past her face. Emily looked at the pieces of porcelain on the floor next to her and squeezed her eyes shut tight. The sounds of her parents’ controlled fury and biting words persisted in driving themselves into her consciousness. She opened her eyes and looked up timidly at her parents. She saw the anger palpable in their stances-Daddy’s hands were clenched tight around a photo frame while his mouth was forming words that were obviously hurting Mummy, who had buried her face in her hands and was sobbing uncontrollably.
Suddenly, Emily realized what Daddy was holding onto so tightly. It was the framed photograph of their family at her fifth birthday party last year. She recalled that it was taken a mere few weeks before Mummy lost the baby. In the midst of her recollection, she heard her Mummy saying something about not wanting the baby to die and how she had suffered all this time. Daddy was implacable. He stared at her angrily and asked her, “What about Emily?” Emily’s blood froze in her veins as she heard Mummy’s reply, “I don’t care.” The coldness with which that was said sliced right through Emily’s heart. In a flash, she realized what the problem was. She was obviously the reason why her parents were arguing all the time.
Hot tears scalded her eyes as she felt the shame enshrouding her. She was unwanted. Suddenly, the piercing sound of glass shattering filled the air. Emily looked up. Mummy’s voice shrieked the unforgettable words, “Let it break! Let it break! Let it all go to pieces!” The words resounded in Emily’s ears. Even Mummy did not want her now, the same loving Mummy who used to rock her to sleep gently every night. Daddy looked so shocked that he was speechless. In the end, only seven words escaped him, “Yes, let it all go to pieces.”
Emily felt a wave of fear. Daddy was giving up too. He did not want her either. They both did not want her. Besieged by the knowledge, Emily turned from the room and ran towards the front door. She heard her parents shouting her name, but she did not look back. Suddenly, glaring lights blinded her and she stopped. She only had time to say “Oh!” before the car rammed into her little body.