I was slicing apples when I heard it. It was a scream that made me drop the knife and run. My heart was bursting with ache and worry. That scream only meant one thing, someone was near death. Perhaps there was a stranger in the house or a fire in the hallway. I turned the corner prepared for fight or flight. I was terrified.
Thing 1 was letting out a noise I had only heard in movies. It didn’t sound human. Thing 2 was on the floor a few feet away.
I said something and looked everywhere. Nothing seemed amiss.
I listened to the ongoing shrill and began to decipher the high-pitched message. Zane. Has. My. Wipes. My. Wipes.
Sure enough Atticus was standing in front of the toilet with his pants around his ankles and Zane was out of his reach holding the object of his desire. I lost it.
I have written on here before about the fear of my anger. I have a temper that is far from healthy. It is odd, really, because I’m a very laid-back guy, but things have a way of pushing my buttons and when they do the missiles launch quick. I have worked hard to fix this. In fact, since I left that job I have made such strides that I almost forgot I had a problem. Until today.
In my defense I’ve had a really tough couple of weeks. I’ve been depressed and melancholy. I’ve had things upset me and I’ve kept them to myself. This morning, still in fact, Tricia has been at the hospital with some sort of allergic reaction from sources unknown. I have spent days sad and worried and it has made me uneasy. That is the base I was building. It is a poor excuse.
I exploded when I realized that I had been scared by something so trivial as my two boys fighting over something, well, trivial. This was not new. The scream, however, was. He stopped over an hour ago and it is still echoing in my ears and my heart is still beating so fast it is actually sore. I fear it may burst.
I yelled. I fought fire with fire, a wrong with a wrong. I was in his face like Cower on the sidelines. I may have spit. I don’t know that I’ve ever been more angry with my son. His behavior had forced me into battle against demons that while imaginary in hindsight were real enough in my mind that I was near tears for having thought them.
I couldn’t stop. I yelled at him until he cried and then I forced myself to go back into the kitchen and finish making their lunch.
I am ashamed. I taught a lesson with love so tough that it was wrong. I’m embarrassed that my sons saw me in that moment and embarrassed that I let them take me there.
Atticus has since forgiven me. We have hugged often since then and he is now eating slices of apple at the table opposite me and his smile is easy.
I am not hungry. I am lost in screams and echoes and nursing the wounds of a careless battle that should never have been fought.
I am sorry.