The Silent Dinner Table

Reads: 196  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
It's what we don't say that matters most.

Submitted: May 31, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 31, 2012

A A A

A A A


 

We gather at the table, the three of us each choosing our own side.  My little brother carries over his stir fry that he’s made, and at the age of twelve, I’m sure it won’t be good.  I smile at him when he asks me how it looks and tell him it smells yummy.  That’s a lie, though, since it smells like moldy cabbage and doesn’t look much better.  But don’t judge a book by its cover, right?  The same must go for not judging stir fry by its rotten appearance.  We finish grabbing our plates and silverware, setting things out at random as we think of what we want for ourselves.  We bump into one another in the kitchen while heading back and forth. 

My mother made steak so undoubtedly it’s either overcooked or undercooked.  I hope for the undercooked outcome as medium rare is my favorite.  We sit down and our attempt at a family dinner looks trashy at best.  All of our plates and cups are mismatched, the three types of food we have is laid out as haphazardly as seems possible, and the random assortment of sauces and whatever else we happened to grab dot the table in an unorganized manner.  Sometimes I just want to have a nice family dinner in which everything looks as fancy as you imagine it should be.  Maybe I should just wish for a nice family where we can get through a dinner without anger or silence, but hoping for a nice setup seems easier. 

We take and pass the food between the three of us which seems silly as we can all reach everything.  We are huddled at the front of the rectangle table, ironically close to each other, though inside we are miles apart.  We talk about nothing and make attempts at small talk and things no one really cares about, but my mother pretends to as if going through the motions will make us a normal, happy family.  As if talking about nothing will distract from all the real things that plague us.  If she asks what my workout consisted of, she won’t have to talk about how my father isn’t sitting at the table with us.  If she asks my brother if he did anything fun at school today, she won’t have to talk about how we don’t know each other at all- not anymore. 

I smile and pretend not to be irritated.  I eat my brothers’ stir fry under his watchful eye and alter my grimace into a grin so as not to hurt his feelings.  I allow this worthless time to pass because I’m afraid if I get mad, what I want to happen more than anything will actually happen.  We might actually say something.  Not just out loud, no, but something that lurks under the surface of our stubbornly enforced ignorance.

My little brother says he’s full when he barely ate a thing.  I laugh and make a joke about how he is becoming a manorexic.  That was a mistake.  My mother sits up as though I hit a switch and says that now she’ll have two kids with eating disorders- one with anorexia and one with bulimia.  I laugh and the two of them follow suit.  I tell her she’s “so funny” and then make another nothing comment to distract us from the reality of what she’s said.  We half-heartedly continue along with my comment until we deem her comment sufficiently forgotten. 

Then we sit in a heavy sort of quiet.  So tonight will be a silent night, then.  We welcome the silence because we refuse to acknowledge what more talking might bring.  For it could be bring truth and the truth would force us out of our hiding places and into the light where we would be exposed for what we really are- for what they and I have become.  And isn’t that interesting?  That we would rather exist in a sort of limbo, our lives hanging precariously in the balance between self-destruction and shame than accept ourselves as the terribly flawed people that we have become.  


© Copyright 2020 Dorotea. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments: