I was at a restaurant (dine-in pizza hut) with my first girlfriend. There was a family of 5 that came in and sat down, making it just the two of us in the whole place. The children ranged in age from what I could tell - 11 months, 4 yrs old and 6 yrs old.
You could tell right off that something wasn't right with them. They looked low-spirited, melancholy, beat down and nervous.
They quickly ordered and waited. The mother went and collected plastic silverware and napkins and upon returning lowered her face and kept her eyes on the table.
The children who had been quiet and not moving up until that point each grabbed a utensil and began playing with it quietly. The father expressed his disapproval and shot them a look to kill. Each child returned the silverware to the middle and the 4 year old took the fork from the 1 year old who then reached as hard as he could to get it back.
Dad got up to go to the restroom and as thick as the air was when they came in, the mood lightened just that fast. The kids grabbed the silverware and began sword fighting. Not loud, but more like normal children would. The mother was the look out and after what seemed like an extremely long time, told the children to return the silverware and settle down.
Nobody took the knife from the baby. Dad returned and brought with him the same darkness and threat that loomed over this family before.
When he sat down the pizza followed.
They began handing out the pizza and everything seemed to be going as planned. Sit down. order. eat.
Just then the baby dropped the knife he was holding and the dad went off, "DAMN IT ! WHAT THE HELL WAS HE DOING WITH THE KNIFE. WHO THE HELL LET HIM HAVE IT. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CUT THE PIZZA WITHOUT A KNIFE !"
The mom was frantically trying to reach for the knife under the table and without removing her eyes from the down position reached it towards him. He snatched it out of her hand and threw it on the table and continued, "WHAT ? YOU EXPECT ME TO USE THIS DIRTY KNIFE ?"
The wife nervously tried to help the situation, "no I'll go, I'll go get another one"
The 6 year old jumped off of the bench and said, "I'll get it mom" clearly trying to protect his mother.
The dad stopped him with an intimidating , "No you won't. Sit down. Let your mother go."
She jumped up and went to the front and got another knife.
They continued eating as if they had guns pointed at their heads and I sat wondering how it was such a young and attractive person would stay with such an asshole.
The baby got ahold of a fork and of course. threw it to the floor.
That was it. "GOD DAMN IT ! HE'S GOING TO THE VAN. I'M TAKING HIM TO THE VAN"
The children's faces showed that they knew all to well what would happen if dad took the baby to the van.
The mother protested in the weakest voice pleading, "He's only 1. He can't go out there alone. I'll take care of him. I've got him."
She scooted even closer to the baby and her hands never left a few inches of the baby's hands for the remainder of dinner.
The baby started to fuss and with a deeper voice he said, "shut him up, or I will."
The children's eyes stayed down the whole time and as soon as they came, they left.
After they were gone, with the pit still in my stomach I said to myself. and to my girlfriend. Why didn't I call the police. He's going to kill those kids. He's going to kill his wife.
I've seen angry. I've seen crazy. This guy was in a league of his own.
I think about that family all of the time. I do. still. It's one of those stories that I think.....I should have done something. There are 3 of them in my life. All of them have stayed with me and especially now having children I think how easily it is to lose our tempers and how easily it is to break their spirits. And how, they need someone to protect them and that person should have been me.
I also know that sometimes surviving isn't always the best thing. and I just pray for peace for the kids who are hurt. and strength for the person who sees this and can make a difference and stop the violence.