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Crime Friendship Sad

TRIGGER WARNING: Child Abuse, Murder.

I was 8:

“Please Peter leave him alone, please” mom begged; her eyes bloodshot through the tears. Father easily pulled his arm away from her feeble attempt at a grip. He pulled me up by my collar and batted my arms away from my face. Mom tried in vain to loosen his grip. “Please. I promise he won’t do it again”. Breathing was turning difficult and I think she saw it on my face because she started punching him. She scratched at his arms and when that too turned out to be useless; she bit him on the arm holding my collar.

He left me with a hiss and turned on her with rage pouring out of every pore. “You bitch, you made me bleed” he grabbed her hair and I; useless for my mother, just lay there; panting to get enough oxygen in my deprived lungs.

He slapped her so hard that her head hit the wall and she crumpled. He didn’t stop. He kept kicking her all over. She cried and cried and then her voice started fading, her cries turned to whimpers and then they too quieted. When he left, I crawled over to mom and touched her bruised cheek but she didn’t hold my hand and kiss it like she did every time. I called her; she didn’t respond.

People came and sympathized with my sobbing father. They were told she fell off the stairs. I didn’t correct them. I didn’t have it in me after my father had beaten me to a pulp; making sure I would never tell anyone what had happened to my mother. My mother tried to save me and paid for it with her life. I kept my quiet and I kept on living.

I was 10:

“Did you break the dish?” my father asked with a purple face and wildly angry eyes. My heart stuttered and my body remembered all the beatings it had gotten so far… too many to count, but the phantom feel of every slap, punch and belt made me wince every time I looked at his foaming-at-the-mouth face.

“I asked you a question boy” he bellowed. Shit, I took too long to answer.

“Y-yes” I stuttered.

His fists clenched and I gulped, my body tensed in anticipation of his first strike and the pain it would bring.

“Do you have any idea how hard I have to work to run this house? I have kept you in such comfort and this is how you repay me? I know why you keep screwing up. You’re just like that bitch of a mother you had”.

My blood boiled, words threatened to flow out of my mouth in my mother’s honor but I forced them back deep down so I might make it to the next day alive… or I’d end up just like mom. I wanted to live long enough to seek justice for her. The words died a slow death inside me.

He circled me slowly, stopping at my back. The ears heard the telltale sound of his belt unbuckling but head refused to turn for eyes to be able to see the rise of his arm. The belt lashed, the skin burned, teeth bit down on lips to stop the cry of agony that wanted out. He relished in my whimpers of pain and I refused to make it more enjoyable for him than it already was.

I lost count after a while and a while after that; my consciousness. Sweet relief.

 …

I was 16:

I only had one friend; a true friend; Luke. I was welcomed in his home like a son. I always knew fathers weren’t supposed to be like the one I had but whenever I met Luke’s dad I felt a pang of longing in my heart.

I was going to stay with Luke for a while after high school. We had a plan. And I was so close to my freedom.

I was 18:

It was my birth day and I dreamt of my mother; the smile on her face when she brought out the cake she’d baked for me… the mischievous glint in her eyes when she held my present behind her back. My door banged open and I was wrenched out of my dreamscape; my safe place.

“How dare you do something so disgusting? She’s like your mother” my father bellowed and I saw a smirking figure standing just behind him; a raised eye brow in evil challenge. My step-mother; who’d been harassing me for a while now. She was much younger than my father and wanted more than just him. And I think she was now done with my continuous refusal to entertain her.

I kept quiet. He wouldn’t listen to me anyway. I let him have his last hurrah and that night; with my bruised and aching body, I left.

I was 23:

Luke and I stayed true to our friendship. He was like a brother to me… the only person after mom who meant something to me. We graduated law school together and were both welcomed in his father’s firm. He was the father I always wanted and he never made me feel like I wasn’t as important as Luke. I worked hard towards my goal. I was close… so close.

I was 25:

My father was behind bars for murder and child abuse. And I made it happen. I did what I promised my mother and people tell me that she’d be so proud of me. I’d like to believe them.

I was 30:

“Can you grab the sodas Wyatt?” Luke called from the backyard.

Today it was my turn to treat the kids from the “safe haven” shelter for child abuse victims. Luke and I were co-founders of the shelter with some of our friends and Luke’s cousins. And all the kids at the shelter were close to my heart. I guess being a victim yourself can make you feel the pain of others at a deeper level.

I assembled the burgers while Luke helped with the fish and chips. I wanted to prepare the meal myself. I always did. Preparing everything with my own hands for these kids gave me a sense of peace nothing else ever could. I wanted them to know what they meant to me. I wanted them to feel loved and know that I had their back. I wanted to be the father they didn’t have… that I never had.

The big, bright smiles on those little faces made my heart swell in my chest. The relation I had with these kids was above any blood relation. They were my kids and I was their protector. A little, sweet voice brought me back to the meal I was sharing with my new family.

“Mr. Wyatt, why do you look so sad? Is it because you don’t have any fries? Do you want mine? I don’t mind sharing them with you”. Harry was just 5 but he could feel people’s moods so accurately it left the grownups astonished. I smiled at him and took the proffered piece of potato in my mouth and when I thanked him; he showed me his biggest, happiest smile.

These meals I shared with my kids were the happiest moments of my life and in times like these I could feel mom smiling down at me.

July 02, 2021 12:17

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