She sipped her wine, waiting for the next assault. "Of course it's my fault. You're right. It's all me. I'm to blame. Again." she thought to herself. She didn't dare to actually speak the words. Being vocal at this point was going to do nothing but open a flood gate she wasn't sure she could close. Countless times she had done the same thing. She held the argument in her head while the real argument happened in front of her. Of course it never played out the same. Changing things would mean speaking her mind.
Instead she rode it out. After twenty or so minutes she noticed the talking had dwindled. With a slight hesitation, she looked up from her lap, raising her head only enough to signify that she had indeed been listening and now awaited more. When nothing came, she stood and approached the now emotionally exhausted being in front of her. "If only he could learn to have these fights with himself this could be avoided." she said to herself. "It's the same fight every single time. We both know it's not going to change."
"I made dinner. It's meatloaf. I can make you a plate." she asked. "There's beer in the fridge." she added, hoping to placate him.
"Whose recipe did you use? Yours, right? What do you care if I'm hungry. It's probably cold." he snapped.
The clock read ten o'clock. "Well, the plate will be in the fridge if you decide to come down." She left the room and smirked to herself at her choice of words. He had been high on something when he got home and they both knew it. Whether she'd made any outward acknowledgement or not, she had no idea. Perhaps that's what had set him off this time.
Minutes later she could smell the smoke through the vent. He wouldn't have anything else to say tonight. She climbed the stairs and quietly opened the door to her daughter's room. She had fallen asleep with headphones on. A part of her was glad for it, while the rest of her looked forward to a time when she wouldn't have to do a nightly check in. She tiptoed in and kissed her lightly on the forehead, carefully slipping the headphones off in the process.
She padded softly to her son's room and opened the door and her heart sunk. His eyes locked with the almost silent TV. He didn't look up to meet her gaze and her heart broke for him. He had heard it all, as her daughter had before. She stepped inside and lowered herself to the bed. "Do you have room for me?" she whispered. His only reply, a faint nod. She slipped beneath the comforter and cuddled him close. "Go to sleep honey." she said softly.
In her heart, she knew the time for wishing had come and gone. As she lay there in the dark, holding a tiny five year old boy, she whispered into the night, "I'm sorry." She knew it would never be enough, but she hoped that it would be a start. She squeezed him closer and wordlessly promised them all that tomorrow she would make it better.