A Little Night Music

Friday night, open window, breeze coming in, carrying messages….

Screams and sobs, sobbing screams, screaming sobs, MAMA! MAMA! MAMA!, the final vowel trailing behind going on and on. I raise the blinds and look out the window. The building is shaped like a square with one side missing. I am in one of the square’s arms. The sobs and screams are coming from the apartment in the square’s other arm, directly across the courtyard from me. I can vaguely see a human form appearing and disappearing. An adult, walking back and forth, can’t tell if it’s a woman or a man.

As I watch, the screams continue. Heartrending, soul-shattering shrieks, the woman’s name as the child knows it, MAMA! Mama. The most important person in the world. The only person in the world. The source of love and trust.

What is it? What is the explanation? I have a child, grown now, but I remember when she was that age, she screamed and sobbed like that, and I wasn’t whipping her or holding her arm against a hot stove, or scalding her in boiling water. She was screaming and crying because she didn’t want to be in bed, because she didn’t want to have that time-out, because she was having a meltdown about something or other. But it wasn’t because I was hurting her.

So why are these endless shrieks, piercing wails, and that one one one one word repeated over and over, why are they ripping my heart to shreds? Children scream and cry for all sorts of reasons. You can’t go and knock on someone’s door everytime you hear a kid screaming and crying. But I want to.

I don’t, of course. And eventually, the screams and sobs stop. The night is silent again.

One Response to “A Little Night Music”

  1. Chief says:

    Well said. You captured every person’s dilemma.

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