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Updated: Apr 13, 2022

From my upstairs bedroom, I hear the sound of glass breaking on the floor. It wakes me up. It’s 3 am. Slowly, I open my bedroom door and silently walk towards the stairs, looking down at the kitchen, being careful not to be discovered. It’s all an 11-year-old girl can do to discover the truth. To hide. Parents always lie to us.

I see Papá standing in the kitchen door. He went out again, drinking with his friends until late. Mamá, as always, stayed at home, like a good mom and wife, and cooked dinner for us. Ham omelette. But when Papá goes out, he eats dinner when he comes back after drinking (apparently alcohol makes you hungry), and we are all sleeping. Or pretending to sleep. I see my mom has huge eye bags every morning. I think she doesn’t sleep well. But, of course, she lies to me so I will never know the truth.

Tonight, however, was different. It looks like Mamá didn’t go to bed and stayed up waiting for him. I can see the broken pieces of a glass, a plate, and water spilled on the floor. Oh, and pieces of the ham omelette. Papá can barely hold himself up. I can’t see Mamá, but I can hear her whispering something at him. She probably doesn’t want to wake us up. The whisper sounds angry though. It sounds like she is crying. If I ask her about it tomorrow, she will lie to me again, so I will pretend I didn’t see or hear anything. I will say I was peacefully sleeping all night. It’s not the first night they wake me up and they always believed my cover story.

Papá doesn’t seem too interested in listening to what Mamá has to tell him, so he starts to leave the kitchen and walk towards the stairs. Rapidly, I run back to my bedroom, close the door, get into bed and wrap myself up in the blankets, hoping that nobody saw me. It’s not ok to listen to adult’s conversations. Or so they say. Sometimes, it’s the only way to find out about the truth.

I fall asleep.

The following morning, Mamá comes into my bedroom. Her eye bags are huge this morning! I guess it’s because she stayed up until late. Maybe she had to clean up all the mess in the kitchen until late. She starts packing my bags. Literally everything from my wardrobe, into the suitcase. She says ‘we are going for a week to your granny’s house, on holidays’. I love spending time at my granny’s. In fact, every time I get the chance, I go there. I prefer listening to her and the birds singing all day. I hate the screams at home between Mamá and Papá. I hate when I see Mamá crying. The worst is, I never know the real reason for why she cries! They lie to me, all the time.

When we arrive at Granny's house, she welcomes us and opens her house’s door to us, with open arms and love. I hear Granny say to Mamá ‘it took you too long’. I never understood that. Did we drive very slowly on the motorway? I won’t bother asking, they’ll lie to me.

After that day, we never came back home. The eye bags slowly disappeared from Mamá’s eyes. The crying tears transformed into laughing tears.

Today, 20 years later, it’s you who opens up your house’s door to me, Mamá. Today it’s me with the eye bags under my eyes. Today, it’s me the one crying. Today, it’s you who tells me ‘it took you too long’. The story repeats itself. I wonder if it’s in our DNA.

All my life, I wondered who broke that glass, you or Papá. Today, I know. I definitely know it was you. Today, I feel the same strength, courage, bravery, and love for myself that you felt that night. I feel you. Gracias Mamá. And sorry it took me that long to realise. Sorry it also took me that long.

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