“It is about everything,” she asserted, and she could not help but feel remorse for the pain showing in his green eyes as he realized she was serious. Divorce had never been brought up before.
“Look,” he said with a shaking voice, but before he could utter another word, the thunder came from a distance.
It started far in the east, and got louder as it approached, as if buildings tumbled to the ground at its wake. When she shouted, “Earthquake!” the house had already started to shake in all directions, threatening to come down on them.
They both jumped and ran to the kids’ room. Frames came off the walls, and glasses and plates were knocked off the shelves. Glass broke all around them and doors shook hysterically, a ruckus of blasts and thuds. Ilyes leaped away from the TV as it slammed down on the floor, shatters flying everywhere.
The two-meter corridor leading to the room felt like hundreds of miles as Sabrina rushed dizzily to the door, dust falling off the roof. Her head went numb when she tried to open the door and could not. Lydia was screeching inside. Ilyes told Lydia to step away as he kicked the door repeatedly and uselessly. Sabrina kept moving the handle up and down until it finally opened.
Lydia ran for them, and Sabrina handed her to Ilyes and told him to run. She walked across the room where Adam was still lying in his bed, crying quietly and clutching to his pillow. She jerked him off the bed from his arm, threw him on her hip and ran for the bedroom door.
The wooden wardrobe was now moving unsteadily. The small TV fell on her foot, but she had no time to stop. Just as she was almost at the door, the wardrobe collapsed and slammed the door shut, locking them both in the room.
That is when she finally let out a scream so loud she felt her guts bleeding, but the rumble drowned it all.
I thought about getting something to eat, but didn’t know if I had enough time. I checked my phone screen. It was Five-fifty, and Ralph said he would be here at six, i.e. six-fifteen. Of course I had time. Who was I kidding? I tugged at my t-shirt again.
Was that it? Was I hesitating to get something to eat because I was so worried about my weight? Was my brother getting to me?
‘The t-shirt is fine,’ he had said that morning when I confronted him. ‘It’s you who’s gaining weight.’
I didn’t think much of it then, but when I remembered the scar-like cuts on my hips, I couldn’t help wondering if that was my skin stretching to accommodate the new mass. It had happened to me before, so I recognized it when I saw it.
No, no, no, I finally decided. I was just being paranoid. And to prove myself right, I tugged at my t-shirt one more time and crossed the street to the falafel shop.