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I am listening for the sound of the front door.

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Introduction

I am listening for the sound of the front door. I know for certain that it is a Saturday night. I do not know whether I am six or 16, eight or 18. I may be alone. I may have a babysitter. It makes no difference. My vigil remains the same. I do not wait for the sound of the door opening. It is the sound of it closing that matters. If it clicks quietly shut, I know they will just have a cup of tea then go to bed. I can sleep. If it closes with a resounding crash that shakes the house, followed by violent, sickening language, I know that it is going to be a long night. I know that my mother will call me downstairs, to protect her. ...read more.

Middle

It is Christmas Eve now. I could be six or 16, eight or 18. I listen for the door, even though I know that tonight I will hear the resounding crash. I also know that tomorrow I will have to pretend to be cheerful as I open my presents under their stony glare. I dare not cry. They will tell me off. They say that their violent arguments are nothing to do with me. I should not be affected by it. As if I could live in this house, and not be affected. The pop star and handsome prince, who help me through my vigil, have given way to a swashbuckling action hero now. A man who will beat my stepfather up before escaping through the front door, with me in his arms, taking me off into the horizon. ...read more.

Conclusion

That way I would not have to explain why I did not want to take friends home. I would not have to explain to teachers why I was always tired and pale. Besides I learned a lot behind that front door. I learned that cracked ribs can be held in place by wrapping a black bin liner tightly around her abdomen. I learned never to tell the neighbours how she came by these injuries, even though they must have known. They too must have heard. I learned to get up before him, to hide the post, just in case there was a red utility bill that she had forgotten to pay. I learned never to mention my real father's name in his presence. I learned to keep the house tidy. I learned that if I were naughty, she would suffer. I learned to be unnaturally well behaved. Unnaturally quiet. An unnatural child. I learned things that a girl, whether she is six or 16, eight or 18, should never know. ...read more.

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