Tash stepped into the entryway of her parent’s home and set down her luggage bags. Every six months she would make the eighteen-hour trip up north to visit them, as per their request. She had moved to Chicago to get away from them as soon as she had graduated from high school…That was a decade ago… But their constant phone calls and their frequent invitations to stay made it seem like just yesterday.
Sure, she loved her family with every ounce of her being. But they could be very suffocating when they wanted to be. It was great that they were finally accepting of the fact that she loved women. But that didn’t mean it made life any easier… Especially when every six months meant instead of going away on romantic getaways, she was expected to visit. That had been the reason that her last relationship had ended. Her girlfriend had gone away on the romantic getaway… only with somebody else.
Nonetheless, Tash considered herself over it. She was just a little frightened of putting herself out there again. Actually, lately she seemed to be feeling frightened of everything. Maybe this trip would do her a world of good. Maybe she might stay a little longer… And quite frankly, she was a little excited to meet up with her brother… He barely ever called any more.
Tash closed the door behind her and looked around. Nobody had come to greet her, which was a little odd. “Mom? Dad? Antonio? It’s me, Tash! I’m here! Hello?”
As she stepped into the extravagant living room, she continued to call out until she heard the familiar raucous of argumentative voices that she had been waiting on. They were coming closer. Clearly, Antonio was bragging about his successful business and his mother was pestering him about marriage and grandchildren.
She saw first, the short-cropped black hair and broad shoulders of her thirty-year old brother and heard his large booming voice as he backed into the living room arguing with his parent. But it wasn’t the argument, nor the parent that Tash was expecting.
“Dad, you’re just jealous that I’m making more money than you!” Antonio yelled at the man twice his senior. Tash was astonished, and slightly afraid. It wasn’t like her soft-natured father to be arguing with anybody, not to mention his son. That was her mother’s job.
“Don’t you dare talk to me like that, Antonio!” her father spat, neither of them noticing her arrival.
“Hey guys,” Tash nervously spoke up. “Look who’s here… It’s me, Tash! Hello! Can either of you even see me? Am I invisible?”
But the men were enthralled with their own argument. Then Tash’s dad did something that she would never expected in her whole life. He brought his fist to Antonio’s jaw, bringing him to the ground instantly.
“Oh my god, dad!” Tash groaned, buckling under her weight. Antonio got to his feet and launched onto their father. Tash fled the living room in search of her mother, whom she found in the kitchen searching through a draw, mumbling. But it was the words that her mother was mumbling that made Tash freeze. “I’ll kill them! Pride son, jealous husband! I’ll kill them both!”
Tash felt her fear welling up inside of her. She needed to do something. She needed to intervene… No, she needed to run and hide!
She turned quickly on her feet and ran toward one of the bedrooms as she heard a loud gunshot ringing out in the living room. She was too frightened to scream out. She found a closet and sat down on top of the pile of shoes. She pulled the doors closed in front of her and gave into her own sobs. She could hear more gunshots, along with screaming and yelling out in the living room.
Tash could only imagine the chaos unfolding. It was her fear that kept her there… Her fear that kept her safe.