One of the earliest memories I can recall, one that I am certain is a memory and not an internalized story my family has repeated often enough for it to be rote, is building a wall to turn what was the master bedroom in my childhood home into a third bedroom. I remember spending the day with my uncle, a few cousins, and other assorted family. That day started happy. Hell, theres even a photo in the album my mother made me commemorating that day. I was about six years old at the time, and had no idea the implications. I was just enjoying the company and thinking I was helping build something.
I’m not fully certain if time has clouded things or if it is the actual truth but in my memory bank, these two events happened the same day.
Like every wall, this one had two sides. I didn’t comprehend the other side of it until it happened. The wall wasn’t just to split a room in two, it was meant to divide the family as well. This was the day my mother put her foot down and kicked my father out.
I vividly remember sitting in the front half of the newly divided room. On my parents bed. I was told to go inside as my mother broke the news to my father. My father, as expected did not take it well. I guess he asked for a moment to speak to my sister and me. That talk wasn’t the kind you’d like to think it was. It was a tempest of raw emotion. He yelled, he blamed our mother, he cried, and a small part of my brain says he threw some objects. It wasn’t until his father stepped in, kicked us out of the room, and spoke to him, did he leave.
I wish I had profound revelations, or motivational things to say about keeping families together is about tearing down walls, not building them. Some cliched line like that. I just don’t.
Maybe in the initial first few years of my parents separation did I want them to get back together. I was 6. Of course I wanted my father around. After awhile though, it was nice not laying in the bottom bunk of the room my sister and I shared. Twirling her hair that she would hang down for me while our parents yelled and screamed. Dad sometimes punching or kicking holes in walls. It wasn’t a loving home in that sense. Not until after the wall was built.
I offer that maybe in some cases that walls are good. Cordoning off the bad parts and moving full speed ahead towards better and brighter is the way to go. Grab my tool belt, and lets go onwards.