It happened on a Tuesday evening in November. Hanna had come back to the house on River Lane with Taco Bell for Margot and me.
At first, as I recall the incident, it’s all manic and I remember sirens and bright lights and police officers and EMTs and that cold white empty stretcher with the restraints hanging loosely from its sides and someone was laughing but it was definitely not anyone in my family. Hanna hustled me and Margot into the gift-wrapping room but I started crying about these kittens we had at the time because I thought they might get loose since everyone seemed so loud and careless so I gathered them and brought them into the room and tried to eat a taco but couldn’t.
I tried to feed the kittens but they wouldn’t eat, either.
Margot sat at a desk with her arms crossed and tears rolling down her expressionless face.
Hanna told us not to go back out there, not until we were asked to, but I couldn’t help myself.
In the living room (not the den where the piano was) stood about four or five strangers in varying uniforms from police officers to medical professionals and it was dark outside save for the flashing of the sirens.
My father was screaming and hopping around and yelling about someone named Ryan who we still don’t know and my mother was talking to a paramedic and had a zonked out look in her eyes. Her arms were crossed.
A sheriff or someone pulled me aside and asked me how long my parents had been separated.
I spit in his face and I told him that I didn’t know that they were separated, but thanks for the information.
I was eleven years old.