Growing up in a home of abuse, you struggle with the notion that you can love a person you hate, or hate a person you love. It’s a strange feeling. You want to live in a world where someone is good or bad, where you either hate them or love them, but that’s not how people are.There was an undercurrent of terror that ran through the house, but the actual beatings themselves were not that frequent. I think if they had been, the situation would have ended sooner. Ironically, the good times in between were what allowed it to drag out and escalate as far as it did. He hit my mom once, then the next time was three years later, and it was just a little bit worse. Then it was two years later, and it was just a little bit worse. Then it was a year later, and it was just a little bit worse. It was sporadic enough to where you’d think it wouldn’t happen again, but it was frequent enough that you never forgot it was possible. There was a rhythm to it. I remember one time, after one terrible incident, nobody spoke to him for over a month. No words, no eye contact, no conversations, nothing. We moved through the house as strangers, at different times. Complete silent treatment. Then one morning you’re in the kitchen and there’s a nod. Hey. Hey. Then a week later it’s Did you see the thing on the news? Yeah. Then the next week there’s a joke and a laugh. Slowly, slowly, life goes back to how it was. Six months, a year later, you do it all again.
― Trevor Noah,
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
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