September 2001
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By: Marie Keough, Age 14, St. Stephens, New Brunswick

There is a word in my house that sits under the stairs, blankets all the pictures, and cuts like glass. Like a leak from the ceiling, with this word comes water, not rainwater, but a river of memories. Divorce. Why does this have to be the word that runs through my house like carpet?

It began about six years ago, six years of going to see Dad every other weekend, six years of split holidays and vacations. I was set down on the couch with my little sister, still in diapers, and there Dad in his black suit and Mom in her green dress told us they werenít going to live together anymore. The pumpkin-faced child next to me just glared, then giggled and turned her back to my parents and started chewing on something. I just stared at both their faces and watched the dim light dance back and forth between their confusing grins.

Six years of lying in bed, looking out across the glowing lights of Moncton from my room in Dadís apartment. Six years of gazing up into the moonlit sky from my house, wondering if my parents would ever get back together.

Now I see my dad every other weekend, and the D-word only surfaces when weekends are brought up, or a childhood memory. The word fills my mouth, but I am unable to spit it out.

Divorce has taken a part of my life and turned it upside down. At my seventh birthday it was so embarrassing just to answer the question: "Where is your dad?" Sometimes I would lie and say he was coming, but he never did. My parents couldnít be together anymore.

When I was ten, it hurt so much at my soccer games to watch my friendsí parents laughing and cheering together, while my dad stood alone on the opposite side of the field, or my mom stood with a smile on her face, which I knew was fake.

Divorce has changed over time. As I grow up the things that used to mean so much now seem stupid or unimportant.

Lately, divorce has brought these questions: If they were still married, would I come home after a soccer game, or after school, and would my dad be waiting there to take us all out to dinner. Or maybe, if I talked to him on the phone, and my mom would talk, and after discussing our next vacation, or even what we were having for dinner, would they exchange "I love you" and then hang up?

Iíve always wanted to know what that would be like, to have dinner as a family, or go through a day without thinking that my parents donít love each other anymore.

I am sure in the future divorce will mean something completely different, but for now I have to get by on the little things that mean so much. Even though my parents donít love each other, I will always know that they both love me, and no matter how old I get, and no matter what divorce brings in the future, that will never change.