As soon as I got up this morning, I vomited, the sour, bilious taste rising in my throat in nauseating waves. I took a deep breath to calm and focus my frayed nerves, wiping the edges of my mouth off last night’s meal. My heart was racing. I noticed my hands and knees were shaking; I held on to the sink for support as my stomach heaved more of its contents out.
Alphonse’s three-hour rampage last night ended nearly at midnight. He tossed our bedroom, pulled the computer monitor off the table and ripped its cables, shoved a lamp and the telephone off an end table, and upturned a freestanding cabinet, sending CDs and DVDs flying. He overturned electric fans and chairs, and insisted they stayed that way on the floor, touching them repeatedly in turns. When restrained- and we all had to help: four nannies, his dad, his brother and myself (yes, he is that strong), he would get more inflamed and incensed, struggling violently to push us away, kicking, flailing, and threatening to bite. He caught me by my hair and shook me like a ragdoll a few times. He caught Alex in the abdomen with a vicious kick that sent his brother reeling.
Last night, as his tantrums subsided into manic shouting, an air of funereal somber settled upon all of us. All around us was chaos and turmoil. What little sliver of light we had seen in previous days evaporated in the darkness of our dismal lives. Please, God, why did this happen to us?
When Alphonse finally accepted our caresses after his initial distrust, we settled him into bed with us. Singing through my tears, I ran my fingers through his hair over and over again. Meek as a lamb and wedged tight between his dad and me, he kissed me thrice on the lips and then fell asleep. Assured by his soft snoring, we gently disentangled ourselves from his hands and cleaned up, moving things quietly and throwing away broken bits of things he left behind. I sobbed myself to sleep, as A could do no more than hold me and let me weep all my tears dry.
I worry about A and Alex and how this burdens them more. A goes to work early and immerses himself in the demands of the day. He calls often to check on us, swallowing the worry that must eat at him too. Alex holds himself together and puts a brave face in front of his classmates and teachers. He pretends nothing is amiss when asked. In the past, he has told me that speaking the truth feels like a betrayal of his brother. And yet I know that there is pain and resentment simmering inside him. No wonder he prefers to stay late in a study center near school; he cannot find a moment’s peace at home.
Today, my neck is stiffer than ever. My right hand is weak and achey. And still I must write and put this all down, lest I go mad with despair and misery.I need to remind myself to look beyond here and now, to stop staring into the bleakness of our lives and start believing that the light will come again. I cling to this hope with all my heart. It is the air I breathe; there is nothing else left.
And so, I force a smile on my face and dry the tears that won’t stop falling.
I am ready, Alphonse. I am always ready for you.