Like Pearls on a String

By Brianna Murphy. Brianna, 17, is from Monett, USA.

It has been said that the best changes in life are the ones that awaken the soul and make us reach for more, that plant a fire in our hearts and bring peace to our minds. Never had that been more true to me than in the time of my parents divorce. I was only twelve when it began and what an awkward time it had been. I was young, but old enough to just start seeing life’s realities. When you’re young you know only what you have been given and it’s that simple, you don’t often struggle or wonder what will become of yourself someday. So as you can imagine how uncomfortable a divorce was for kid like myself, to be stepping into the real world all alone.

It had started as you could probably guess a divorce would, the basic foundation of a marriage is slowly and surely chipped away and soon the pillars that they built their home and family on became nothing but chunks and pebbles scattered across the ground. Pieces that could never be put back together. Often times I wish I could say that their divorce was a piece of cake that they were together and now they aren’t. However if I told you this it would be a lie, because their divorce was nothing close to simple, easy, or safe.

In school I was safe. I hadn’t known until later that school was a good place to be. How terrible that sounds but how true it is. For me it was a place of many things; it was puberty, friends, stress, and art. It was awkward to do it alone, not being sure if what you’re doing is anywhere near correct. My body was changing but so was everyone else’s, classes were a struggle, and I had great friends but, I was quiet I didn’t ever say much of anything about how I felt. It was safe from home, but the best thing about middle school was the art.

Art had freed me from worry and being scared; it released my mind into worlds that I could be myself in. I had found the bridge between my world and this one. It had snuck its way into my life and I guess it had reached the point of absolute no return. I had soon given my time and developed my talent to art, and I hadn’t even known it. I’d say that the credit goes to Ms. Barker my middle school art teacher. She was not only my teacher by also my friend, whether I told her about home or not, I knew that she had an idea about what went on. I hadn’t realized until later how grateful I was to have her. She had helped me in ways she could never understand and may never know. She had been the first stepping stones to what, I hope, will be my lifelong passion. She brought me into a new world, one that would soon change my perspective on life forever. However it wasn’t always so wonderful because when the end of the school day came near, I always grew nervous. Not knowing if it would be quiet and lonely or a night of screaming and tears. In a lot of ways it’s all the same, screaming at each other while saying silent prayers and crying yourself to sleep. Those words and tears were not for me, they were empty promises that my parents sent to each other every night in wars of emotion and distress. That’s all my home felt like for three years: a war zone with bombs, rockets, flares, and sadness.

My mother was depressed and when it was a quiet night she slept a lot, but when she wasn’t sleeping she was yelling and begging for it all to end. My father who normally never yelled, always made his statements much louder than my mother could have ever screamed. I hadn’t known at the time but he was in fact abusing her, not physically, but mentally. Making my mother believe she was crazy, a bad mother for sleeping and not taking care of her children, for not being able to do everything. He had pushed her, accused her, and lied to her until she had no safe place left to hide. She believed him.

There were only a few times I had been deeply afraid. I knew our parents would never hurt us, but when they hurt each other and themselves it was a sight to see how two people that had once loved each other can now give hatred so freely. It had started as any other night, he accused, pushed, pulled, lied and called her horrible names that I knew she took to heart. There had only been one time that I had felt afraid and shaken to the point of total shock, unable to move and unsure what to say. She had picked up a glass vase and repetitively beat it on our kitchen table until it had broken into little shards of glass, it had cut deep into her hand. She stood in the middle of our living room screaming with tears and blood running down her body. She trembled and held her blood dripping arm. I only remember she shaking and a very large blood stain that was left in the carpet after everything was said and done that night. It had become the stain that would never go away. The stain that reminded me of the power of a few simple word.

It had taken three years for my mother to finally say, No I don’t deserve this, my children don’t need this, I will not be beaten or threatened or shaken to my core by you ever again. You would probably think, great it’s all over now it should get easier, but that was easily not the case. It’s one things to file for a divorce but it’s a completely different thing trying to getting away from someone. My mother knew this best, see we three girls could bounce back and be okay after a little time, but for our mother it was an everyday struggle. He was haunting her, for he had been the only things she knew for twenty years. She had given her life to him and now she had to break every bound she had sewn that was tied to him. I always said I was there for her and that she’s not alone, but in all reality I was alone too. She hadn’t known that I felt more alone than she did for so long, but I had created a way to escape through art, she had nothing, she was left empty.

The divorce is still going on up to this very day, it’s nowhere near as bad as the days that I’ve tucked deep into my mind, the memories that I choose to forget. I can gladly say that I am safe and now have a mother who is also one of my closest friends. I’m glad that you can choose to forget some pieces of your life after a while… the life you had before. Things that you had once let control you are like pearls on a string. Cut the knot, they scatter across the floor, rolling into dark corners, never to be found again. So you move on. And evently you forget what the pearls even look like. Or at least you try.

2 comments on “Like Pearls on a String

  1. Glynn Bennion on

    Hi, Bri. You have a powerful voice. Good to hear it again. The conflict draws the reading through the essay, and the figurative language plaints a thought provoking picture. Keep writing!

  2. Mary Wilcock on

    Such a wonderful essay, you provide such a different look at something more then most people have to face, you let the reader engage into a piece of you that a lot do not know about you. Thank you for sharing. You are such an amazing artist and now I see that you are an amazing writer as well. Gray job!🤗


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