a quiet sort of problem

"I didn't want to say anything" has become my mantra recently. "It's okay, really." "I don't want to get in the way."

Sometimes there aren't any problems. I'm always polite and people generally think well of me--quiet but thoughtful, or something like that. But then there's the shouting, the fighting, me in the corner reading. Me on the couch writing. Sometimes it's in the next room, but their voices are raised and I can hear it. Sometimes they pretend I'm not there. But I never say anything. I smile sometimes. I leave sometimes. Then they apologize and it's always "don't worry about it." "It happens." "We all have off days."

I try occasionally, usually when I'm feeling confident or optimistic, sometimes when I feel trapped. But then they think I'm choosing sides. They tell me I should stay out of it. They apologize but say this is important. They wish they could do something but they can't this time--they are trying to be reasonable.

And of course I have to understand. I smile. I tell them things will be all right. I always, always remain calm. I just hope someone notices.

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