The crashing sounds of wine glasses followed soon after the shattering of the
expensive Ming vase. Emily crouched even further into her corner, willing her
mind to stop taking in the sounds of her parents arguing again. She could not
remember exactly when these arguments first started, but she always knew how
they invariably ended. Mummy would send the bedroom door banging as she
retreated in anger to that refuge. Daddy would come by and hug her before
leaving the house for the next few days.
Emily thought back to the first
argument. It started soon after Mummy had come back from the hospital. She had
looked wan then, such a far cry from her usual radiant and beautiful self. The
first thing she did was to take Emily into her arms and squeeze her hard. Emily
remembered wriggling irritably, making little noises to show Mummy her
discomfort. But nothing she did then registered Mummy's mind. Suddenly, she felt
a strange dampness on the collar of her dress and struggled free to look at
Mummy's face. Her make-up had streaked all over her face, obviously ruined by
her tears. At that moment, Daddy walked in and started speaking to her. She kept
shaking her head and refusing to listen. In the end, Daddy was so angry that he
stormed out of the house.
From then on, increasingly, Mummy would smash things around the house
whenever they argued while Daddy would seethe with impotent fury. Later on,
Emily learnt that Mummy had lost the baby brother who was living in her stomach.
Now, she was awakened from her thoughts when a missile shot past her face.
Emily looked at the pieces of porcelain on the floor next to her and squeezed
her eyes shut tight. The sounds of her parents' controlled fury and biting words
persisted in driving themselves into her consciousness. She opened her eyes and
looked up timidly at her parents. She saw the anger palpable in their
stances-Daddy's hands were clenched tight around a photo frame while his mouth
was forming words that were obviously hurting Mummy, who had buried her face in
her hands and was sobbing uncontrollably.
Suddenly, Emily realised what Daddy was holding onto so tightly. It was the
framed photograph of their family on her fifth birthday party last year. She
recalled that it was taken a mere few weeks before Mummy lost the baby. In the
midst of her recollection, she heard her Mummy saying something about not
wanting the baby to die and how she had suffered all this time. Daddy was
implacable. He stared at her angrily and
asked her, "What about Emily?" Emily's blood froze in her veins as she heard
Mummy's reply, "I don't care." The coldness with which that was said sliced
right through Emily's heart. In a flash, she realised what the problem was. She
was obviously the reason why her parents were arguing all the time.
Hot tears scalded her eyes as she felt the shame
enshrouding her. She was unwanted. Suddenly, the piercing sound of
glass shattering filled the air. Emily looked up. Mummy's voice shrieked the
unforgettable words, "Let it break! Let it break! Let it all go to pieces!" The
words resounded in Emily's ears. Even Mummy did not want her now, the same
loving Mummy who used to rock her to sleep gently every night. Daddy looked so
shocked that he was speechless. In the end, only seven words escaped him, "Yes,
let it all go to pieces."
Emily felt a wave of fear. Daddy was giving up too. He did not want her
either. They both did not want her. Besieged
by the knowledge, Emily turned from the room and ran towards the front door. She
heard her parents shouting her name, but she did not look back. Suddenly,
glaring lights blinded her and she stopped. She only had time to say "Oh!"
before the car rammed into her little body.