A Shattered Window

Windows don’t catch rocks. Rocks shatter windows. Thrown with intent or accidentally too hard on a summer evening, a rock can break apart more than a window.

Rocks can break apart a marriage too…

My tea was too hot to drink when she threw the rock at 7:05 pm on July 25th. I know, it’s weird that I remember the exact moment she shattered the window on the first floor of our two-story dream house.

But I do. It was an event, to say the least. The window shattered and the scream she launched at the gaping hole shattered the rest.

“Charlie you son-of-a-bitch! Come out here NOW!”

My husband launched himself through the kitchen door before I could get clear of the counter. He’s Charlie if you haven’t guessed.

“What are you doing here?”

“You didn’t tell me you were married. Is that her? Is that your kid? Is that your dog? Is that your house?!”

“Calm down Jenny,” the way he said Jenny, like a damn caress on a cheek, was all I needed to hear.

I walked over to the door. Performing the extra security measures of a paranoid squirrel. Flipping the bolt, stitching the chain and twisting the doorknob, I lock her out.

I locked him out.
I locked them out.

He didn’t even hear it with her screams so close to his ear.

“When were you going to tell me?!”

“Jenny, babe…” I walked away before I launched myself through that window. Making sure to shut the kitchen door that connected to the TV room, so I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation.

The sirens showed up quickly, screeching like Jenny did. A side-effect of our neighbors calling the cops, speeding to the front of the house. I put my hand on Chrissy’s shoulder, “Baby, go upstairs.”

“I’m not a baby.” She hadn’t heard them. Which was fine. Her world didn’t need shattering right now.

“You’re right Chrissy. You are my grown-up little head of curls.” I hug her close to me. “Will you be my big girl and go upstairs and get ready for bed please?” Her eyes looked up at the ceiling, the lights were like fireworks, entrancing to her. I acted like I couldn’t see them. “Go on.”

She put her dolls down on the floor Rover, the deaf golden retriever, stood up with her. I picked the dolls up out of habit as she ran towards the stairs. “No running.” Another habit. Rover paced behind her to the stairs.

“Okay, momma.” She walked up the stairs staring at the carpet pattern because it was new at the time. She thought she could save the flowers by not stepping on them. Rover tip-toed beside her. Her hand on his collar. Making sure she didn’t fall. A four-legged-nanny.

“Chrissy, I have to go outside for a second. Keep Rover with you.”

“Okay, momma.” Her door shut. They would play for another ten minutes before I had to actually put her in bed. The steps on the porch were heavy. Before the officer could ring the doorbell, I opened the door. “Sorry officer, you would have freaked out the dog if you rang that bell,” I said with a smile as I shut the door behind me.

“Yes, mama.” He put his hands to the side, next to a very big gun belt that was too big for him. “We had a noise complaint.”

“I believe they are over by the broken kitchen window,” I pointed towards the side of the house.

“Is there anyone in the house?”

“Just the dog on the second floor with my daughter. The ones making the noise are outside.”

“And do you know these people?”

“One is my husband. The other, his girlfriend.” The officer’s eyes averted from me when I said that. My eyes felt dead as I smiled at him.

“Are you a danger to anyone now?” I shook my head, knowing that the two creatures inside were the ones I needed to protect.

“Will you stay in the house for me?” I nodded. “Then please go inside. We will look into the noise complaint.”

“Thank you, officer.” I opened the door and stepped back inside. I moved slowly across the back hallway and leaned against the door frame going into the kitchen. I could hear Charlie, Jenny, and the officer talk to each other.

“Sir, miss, please calm down. There is no need to cause this much noise.”

“She called the police on me?” Jenny’s voice was a high-pitch train whistle.

“Miss, the report was taken from a neighbor next door.”

“They called the police on us Charlie!”

“Looks like it babe.” There was a hush and then, “Hey Mel, can you let us in the house?!”

I heard the door rattle in the kitchen. I went in and stared at the figures of the man I loved ten minutes ago, and his girlfriend. I reached for my mug on the counter.

The tea was cool enough to drink. I sipped it, staring at them through the window pane. Charles’ face was a bright orange fury. He wasn’t mad at her. He was mad at me.

I was pissed as hell.

I took out a stash of cookies under the counter and leaned against the polished marble. Girl Scout thin mints soften with every sip of mint tea. Waiting for them to be taken off my back porch.

It didn’t take long. As Charles gets loud when he’s mad. Their faces, twins of anger and betrayal.

Their voices fade away from the door, and then the broken window. I poured out the tea and turned away from the shattered glass and my shattered relationship. Getting the broom and dustpan out of the closet. The noise of a vacuum might bring Chrissy and Rover downstairs.

They didn’t need to know about this tonight, not after we had such a nice day at Chrissy’s birthday party.

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