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I stand shivering in my bedroom as I look out toward the street. A woman in a gray suit heads for her black Sedan in the pouring rain.
And another one bites the dust I think to myself as I hear pounding footsteps on the stairs. I shake myself of the sarcasm and retreat into myself. My bedroom door slams open, and my dad walks in. Without out any preliminary small talk, he screams, “Why did you not cover yourself today?”
I answer and bow my head, “Father, I apologize for my forgetfulness. I thought since it was raining, and I’d be wearing sleeves all day, that it’d suffice not to.”
“Like heck you thought!” he shouts and moves quickly. Striking the back of my legs with a well-aimed kick, I fall to the floor on my knees. I wince as he whacks both sides of my head.
“What have I told you before? You cover yourself always! You lousy, worthless idiot that’s not even worth the ground I walk on! And how many times have I told you that you NEVER address me standing?!” he continues. As he’s droning on and on during this twice daily rant, I smell it. The strong stench of whiskey fills my nostrils. I wrinkle my nose in disgust, but quickly replace it with a blank look. The seething is ending, which means it’s time for judging.
“As for your punishment, you stupid thing, I think you’ve been getting too far out of line for my liking…” he says. It’s true, I guess. In the last three days, I laughed once, smiled twice, and had five meals of toast. Finishing his sentence with the verdict, I tune back in. “…So this time, you’re not going to be punished.” I look up in surprise. Something about his look scares me.
“Instead, I’m going to teach you a lesson in the importance of silence and endurance. Furthermore, this is also a lesson over control and how you will never have it,” my dad explains.
Then, it clicks. Some of his stunts may have been cruel before: starvation, wrestling matches, and posing, but this was a whole new level. Fearfully, I look for a way to escape. While I was recovering from my earlier blows, he had been smart enough to lock the windows and shut the curtain. Unfortunately, he was blocking the only other exit.
“Now Hope, we can do this the easy way or the hard way,” he says, almost toying with my emotions. He even knowing my name took me aback, much less using it. It had always been something derogatory before. He had never used it before, because as he said so many times, “You don’t deserve something so important as a name.” My moment of startledness was all he needed. Tackling me, he lay on top of me and goes through the motions. Before today, I still had me. But now, I lost that too and had nothing left.
Finishing up, he leaves the room. Not that it matters to me now. I can’t move, even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t. The pain that screams through my body is crippling, and the other effects have only just begun to take effect.
I know there are some children like me that have been through a lot worse. That’s why I think I must deserve this. Somewhere on the path of innocent childhood, I must have strayed too far off the beaten road and gone bad. However, what I believe even more so than this, is honestly true and perhaps the reason why I deserve to be punished. I hate Cinderella stories. There is no such thing as happily ever after in reality. The miracle stories on television are all scams. Stations set those up to make others look good and to make a decent profit. Children like me are not saved; we continue our bouts in misery and silence. We do not speak. To speak is to continue living. To die, we do not tell. To tell is to waste time. And the number one thing we have learned through the years is this: we are never found in time.