I looked up from my maths homework and noticed the daylight had nearly gone from my room.

“Lizzie!” I whispered, and ran into the living room. She was still watching TV.

“I think you’ve had enough TV for one day,” I said bossily, and turned the set off with the remote.

“I guess so,” Lizzie yawned. She followed me into the kitchen, whining, “I’m hungry, Esther.”

“Okay, I’ll make us some food.” I found some steak in the fridge so I fried it. Then I made a salad.

I glanced at the clock. It was after seven. Dad was usually home by now. When Lizzie was in the bath I checked on Ma. She was still sleeping.

After that I sat at the kitchen table and listened to Lizzie reading. She had only started school this year, but she was a great reader. Ma used to read to her all the time.

I had just decided to put Lizzie to bed myself, when I heard Dad come in. Lizzie ran excitedly to greet him and a moment later he walked into the kitchen, holding Lizzie in his arms.

“Hello Esther. Is everything okay?”

“Yes Dad. Everything is fine.” I didn’t stand up to greet him like I normally did. All I could think about was whether they would start fighting soon.

“Good. Lizzie said you made dinner.”

“Yes. But I didn’t keep you anything. I didn’t know if you were coming home.” I felt bad after I’d said it, but I couldn’t take back the words.

We locked eyes for a long moment. Then he said, “I’m not hungry.” He walked slowly out of the kitchen. I noticed how grey and haggard he looked.

I covered my face with my hands. What was happening to our family?

“Divorce is no big deal these days,” Linkie had once said. “Everybody is doing it!”

Later, when Lizzie was asleep, I crept on tiptoe to the door of my parent’s room. I listened outside. I could hear them talking softly.


The first thing I thought as I opened my eyes on Thursday morning was that everything would be fine. And with a smile I thought about Samora. It would be exciting to get to know him.

I had early athletics practice so I got ready. When I came into the kitchen Dad was sitting at the table, drinking coffee. I helped myself to a bowl of cereal.

“Will you be home tonight, Dad?”

For a moment he didn’t say anything. Then he looked sadly at me.

“Your mother and I have decided to separate.”

“You’re doing what?!” I yelled, a rush anger flashing through me. I banged my hand on the table. “How could you do this to us? Don’t you care about us any more?”

“I’m sorry, Esther. But you know these things happen. It’s not that we don’t love you and Lizzie anymore.”

“Don’t feed me that crap,” I hissed at him. “You made this happen. You’re nothing but a lying, cheating bastard. You’ve ruined all our lives.”

I threw my cereal bowl into the sink. “I hate you! I never want to see you again. You make me sick just looking at you.”


Tell us what you think: Did Esther have the right to shout like that at her father?