It came to a point where they literally stopped talking to each other. Everything I had to say to them had to be communicated separately to both of them. At times I went out, and one of them would be frantic by the time I came back, mainly because they couldn’t possibly ask the other one, who very well knew where I was.

The fights that had come before this had been bad. I remembered crying myself to sleep and waking up shivering. But this was eerier. I kept waiting for them to explode.

But I had to keep waiting. They would be sitting side-by-side, doing their own thing, and they wouldn’t even look at each other. Once in a while, one of them did something that had traditionally irritated the other. But they would just look at each disdainfully and continue not talking.

It was pleasant in a way, but I was always slightly jumpy, because I had grown up listening to them screech at each other all the time, and suddenly, after seventeen years, there was none of it. Even after I moved out, I was compelled to see them once a week at least, and I kept staring at them, goading them in my mind to start.

I’m a bit ashamed to say that I began to think that I would finally heave a sigh of relief only after one of them died. That didn’t go well. They didn’t.