First the phone crashed against the wall. Well, that wasn't the first thing that happened. First there were snide comments, clenched fists, raised voices, my mom leaving the table toward the stove to throw a corn tortilla on it. Sheer habit I think. My dad following her bitting his lower lip, and towering over her by an inch or two. She tried her best, to escape his incessancy, until finally she grabbed the cordless phone from the counter, habit again, and he ripped it from her and flung in across the room toward a collection of oak framed humming birds, one fell down and shattered on the tile beneath and the phone ricocheted onto the table and right onto the salsa, onions and freshly sliced avocados. That's when we knew it was real.
After that it was all noise. A clamoring of my little sister sobbing, my older brother pushing the table away from him in defiance, dishes clattering, my mother screaming, my father yelling louder and my heart beating its way up toward my throat.
"Whachu wanna call da police... unh?" my father roared, punching his fist into his palm. My mother's face twitched with anticipation. "Enh? Hija de puta!" This time he lifted his left arm and I flinched to keep from seeing him smack her clean across the face. But his hand never made contact, because now he was using it to hold her wrist, to keep the same knife she sliced the onions with from puncturing his neck. My older brother yelled "No." My little sister screamed. And I opened my eyes wide to see what would happen next.
It took only seconds for him to grab the knife out of her hand and throw it in the sink. He pushed her to the ground and nearly tore the backdoor off its hinges to get out, leaving her screaming in defeat. That wasn't the first fight they had, it was by no means their last. It wasn't their most violent, or their loudest. But I don't remember any phones or remote controls or any other projectile objects breaking against the wall after that.