When I was about to start eighth grade, my father almost shot my mother. It was another of their many ugly fights. I got between them — literally — and tried to grab the gun.
I will never forget that night. The shouting. The fear. The raw terror that we would all die, my brother and sisters along with my parents. My calling for help but the police not coming; my parents were important people in town. My mother running out of the house. I locked my brother and sisters in a bedroom and pushed a bed against the door. My father broke in, took the door off the hinges and pulled the phone from the wall. He took the knobs off all the doors, so we could not get out and no one could get in.
We survived that occasion, physically. Emotionally, I am not so sure. My baby sister, Mary Grace, was supposed to start first grade the next day. I walked her to school because I believed in trying to be normal, to keep everything together. She died several years ago, after suffering all of her life from demons that haunted her. I cannot help but think that night was the source of many of them.