The Getaway

April 12, 2017

It was a sunny day at the lake, I was about five or six at the time. I was playing in the water and my mom and dad were lying on our giant blue and purple stripped towels that we bought at Costco a week earlier. They were smiling, laughing and having a great time. I remember seeing them and feeling happy. I looked around and glanced into the sky. It was a beautiful shade of blue, like when a baby opens its eyes for the first-time. It was pure and innocent. I remember feeling joyful and I could feel the love radiating from my family. Then the sky started to crumble before my eyes, it started falling apart piece by piece. It came crashing down like the start of a war. It was dangerous, scary, and unpredictable. Then suddenly, my parent’s laughter became painful screams filling the empty space that surrounded me. That’s when I woke up, every morning it was the same game, yelling, screaming, blaming and name calling. I shoved my face deep down into my pillow, wishing it would stop. I could still hear the frantic shouts, they were slightly muffled, and came from right outside my bedroom door. I shed a small salty tear, and then wiped it away, never letting a soul know about my daily cries. I got up and stepped onto the freezing cold creaky floor. It squeaks once, then as I take another step, it did it once more but this time it was even louder. Then suddenly the noise became silent. Sometimes the silence felt louder than the shouting. I grabbed my ripped jeans from the top of the dirty close pile, and slipped them on one leg at a time. Then I took off my ripped tee shirt and pulled on my black and yellow Nirvana shirt. I wrapped my black and red flannel over my hips and tied it in a knot. I put on my beat up, faded black chucks and laced them up.
I looked at the door and tried to build up the courage to open it up. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that no matter what was said or done to hold my tongue; I don’t need to add to the chaos. I took a step and reached my hand out and grabbed the knob. As I touched the gold metal knob it was ice cold and numbed my fingers. I turned it and opened the door. Then as I looked down the hallway, I notice shattered glass on the floor.  I walked around and I saw my parents wedding picture broken on the floor. I continued toward the kitchen and I heard the front door open and close firmly. I opened the refrigerator and grabbed an apple from the top shelf. I closed the door and turned around and saw my mom’s car pulling out of the driveway.  I walked into the living room and put my hair into a messy bun I used a broken hair tie that I had retied multiple times.  I went to open the front door and heard my dad stumble into the living room. He had a look on his face that I knew all too well. His eyes were puffy and narrow, and he couldn’t look me in the eyes. He took a deep breath and tried to find his balance, using the wall for support. “Where do you think, you’re going?” he said slurring every other word.  As he spoke I could smell the awful smell of liquor pour out of his mouth. I replied calmly “I am just going for a walk and I will be back soon,” he stared at me struggling to focus on my eyes. He took a step closer and was off balance and fell over, tumbling to the floor. I ran to him, to help him up. “Dad are you alright?” I said concerned. I grabbed his hand and put a hand on his back trying to steady him. He pushed me away, and made me fall back on to the floor. “No I don’t need your help,” he shouted. “You’re so useless and you’re always in the way, just get out of here,” he shouted back at me. I stayed on the floor in shock from his response. He helped himself up using the couch. I caught my breath and stood up without saying a word. I walked out of the house in silence and slammed the door behind me.
I marched down the driveway with tears running down my face. I was overwhelmed with emotions, the feelings of neglect, anger, weakness and fear were drowning me. I was sinking further into the hole that he had put me in. I was always doubting myself and feeling like I wasn’t good enough.  Suddenly it just became too much for me to deal with. I fell to my knees on the side of the road. and sat there crying for a minute. Then I got up and dried my eyes. I wasn’t going to feel bad for myself anymore.
I needed to talk to someone right now. I continued walking and finally came to my Uncle Danny’s house. I walked up to the big red house, and knocked on the giant black door. I waited about 15 seconds, my nose started to fun because of how cold it was out there. I knocked again, and still there was no answer. I walked around the back of the house and grabbed the spare key from under the door mat. I walked back to the front of the house and stuck the key in the hole and turned it. I heard the door unlock as I turned the key. I pushed open the door, and walked in while I took the key out of the door. I closed the door behind me. I smelled homemade chicken noodle soup and my stomach growled. “Hello, Uncle Danny are you home?” I called. Still there was no answer. I hear clinching around in the kitchen. I walk into the kitchen and see Uncle Danny looking through the cupboards. “Hey did you not hear me knock?” I asked him. “Oh Dani, sorry I didn’t is everything okay?” he asked me. I looked at him with my red and puffy eyes. “I don’t know anymore,” I said chocking back the tears. He kissed my forehead and smiled at me. “I know what will make you feel better,” He said grabbing my hand.
He pulled me in to the living room, and went over to a big shelf that was full of vinyl records, all in alphabetical order. He went to the P’s and grabbed a green sleeve, and walked over to the record player in the corner. He took out the big black round record and placed in the turntable, he lifted the arm and placed it on track four. I heard the needle scratching for a second then a piano leaped from the speaker, and what followed would immediately change my mood. I forgot all about why I was upset. I heard the perfectly imperfect voice of Patsy Cline emerge from the background music. Uncle Danny grabbed my hand and we danced and sang to the music like we did when I was little. “I’m crazy for trying, and I’m crazy for crying, and I’m crazy for loving you,” we sang together. We started laughing and then sat on the couch, as the song ended. “Do you feel any better?” he asked me. “Actually, I do. Thanks.” I said smiling. He nodded his head. We continued listening to the remainder of the album, and then many more that I found on the shelf. We sat down at the table and ate some soup. It was silent except for the music that was playing in the background. After we were done eating, I looked at my phone and saw it was already 9:30. “Oh my goodness, it has been hours. I need to get home,” I expressed. “I’ll give you a ride, you don’t need to be walking in the dark by yourself,” He insisted.
So, we walked outside and jumped in the car. We drove just a couple blocks away and then we were at my house. I went to get out but he stopped me. “I have something for you,” he said. “I was planning to give it to you for Christmas, but I think you could use it now,” He reached in the back seat and grabbed a wooden record player and handed it to me. The he reached in the glove compartment and grabbed our favorite Patsy Cline record out and placed it on top. “I want you to have these. I’m not always going to be here and right now you’re going through some hard times. Anytime you are feeling sad or down play this and think of me. I felt a rush of joy as I hugged and thanked him, then an overwhelming sadness hit my heart. When he drove away I couldn’t help but think if he was trying to tell me something.
I opened the front door and I heard cries. I looked to my left and saw all the pictures torn off the wall. To my right I saw my dad sitting in the corner of the room crying his eyes out, as he held a bottle of vodka to his lips. I walked over to him, “What happened? Where is Mom?” I asked panicking. “She gone, and she’s going to take you away from me as soon as she has a place to stay,” he cried. I looked at him, sorry I had asked. I helped him up and, he reeked of alcohol. I put one arm under his shoulder to support his weight with mine. I walked him down the hallway trying to dodge the glass shards. I opened the door that goes to his bedroom, and help him into bed. I went to walk away, when he called my name. “Dani come here for a minute, I’m so sorry honey. I’m sorry you got stuck with me as your father. I’m sorry for all the pain I’ve cause you,” then he took another swig of vodka. An angry rage came over me. I grabbed the bottle from him and threw it at the wall, leaving dripping stains on the wall and glass on the floor. “You’re sorry? That’s it? Am I just supposed to forgive you, like all the other times you hurt me? Then in that case I’m sorry too. Sorry that I let you control me for so long. I’m sorry that I forgave you repeatedly and let you break me a little more inside each time. You say you’re my father, well fathers are supposed to protect their daughters, and care for them when they have a broken heart. It’s kind of hard to do that when the first guy to break my heart was you,” I screamed. He looked at me shocked and confused as if he hadn’t heard a word I said. I turned around and walk out of the room, fighting the tears.
I walked into the bathroom, turned the shower on and took of my clothes. I checked the water and then stepped inside the tub. I let the hot water run down my face and body.  I let myself fall into the tub. And sat there with my knees pulled up to my chest. I started to cry, as the water started to hit the top of my head and roll down my face. I stayed in that same position for what felt like hours. I cried until crying was no longer an option, I physically couldn’t cry anymore. My eyes were sore and puffy when I get out and looked in the mirror. I wrapped a towel around me and walked to my bedroom. I put on sweatpants and a t-shirt. I plugged in my record player and placed the record on top.  I listened to it once, then twice, and then again, replaying it until I realized what time it was.
It was 5 o’clock in the morning, and I hadn’t slept at all. I turned off the record and laid in bed in silence. As soon as the music stopped my thoughts consumed the empty space the music filled in my head. Then a loud knock on the door stopped my thoughts I get up after waiting for whoever it was to just go away, but they didn’t. So, I got up and walked into the living room and opened the front door. It was a police officer. “Can I help you sir?” I asked. “Yes, does Krissi live here?” he asked. “Not anymore, but she’s my mom. What’s the problem?” I said. “Well there was an accident with your uncle and he put your moms name as an emergency contact. I suggest getting a hold of her as soon as possible. It’s important that we have a family member down there to make some decisions,” he exclaimed. “Thank you,” I said closing the door.
I ran for the phone and dialed my mom. It rang three times before I heard the comforting voice of my mom. “Hey sweetie, why are you up so early?” she asked. “Uncle Danny’s in the hospital we need to get down there now. Will, you come pick me up please?” I said loudly into the phone.  “of course, I’ll be there in 5.” She said. I ran to my bedroom putting my shoes and jacket on. I wrote dad a note telling him I was with mom and went outside to wait for her. I saw her drive around the corner then stop in front of the house. I jumped in and we started driving. “I’m sorr- “she started to apologies but then I cut her off. “Not now, we can talk about this later. Let’s just worry about Uncle Danny,” I said. She nodded and continued looking at the road.
We pulled up to the hospital and before she could stop the car I jumped out, and ran through the sliding glass door. I ran to the lady behind a desk. “What room is Danny Flannery in? “I asked in a hurry. “Let me check for you,” she said. She was taking forever and I was beginning to become impatient. “Room 275 on floor two,” she said. I thanked her and started to run for the elevator. There was a long line, so I bolted up the stairs. I looked back and saw my mom, I was not waiting for her in all honesty. I kept going until I saw the numbers 275. I stopped and realized I needed my mom for this. I wasn’t strong enough on my own.
My mom ran up behind me and grabbed my hand. “Are you ready?” she asked. I shrugged my shoulders and she opened the door. I walked in behind her, scared to look. He was asleep. So, I sat next to his bed and grabbed his hand. His body was lifeless. I kissed his hand and sat there with him for a few minutes. Then I started humming the tune to our favorite song. I leaned in and sang in his ear. “Crazy, for thinking that my love could hold you, I’m crazy for loving you.” He opened his eyes and looked at me. I started crying and so did my mom. We looked at each other for a second and then he started to talk to me but I couldn’t understand, I moved in closer to try and hear better. “Music will be your getaway from the craziness that is your life, and please don’t forget me. I love you Dani Rae,” he said. “How could I ever forget you? I love you so much Uncle Danny,” I cried.
He slowly closed his eyes, and I heard the beeping stop and nurses and doctors came and told us we needed to leave. Mom ran over to me as I felt my legs stop working and I fell to the floor. I’ve had never felt a pain like that before, it started in my chest and then ran through my entire body I couldn’t stand up or even think. I had trouble breathing. My mom and I sat on the floor of the hospital hallway and cried. After about ten minutes I had to get up. My mom put an arm under my arm pit and we walked out to the car. She helped me into the passenger seat and then hugged me. She closed the door and walked around to the driver’s seat. When she got in we sat there in quiet for a minute. Then she puts the car in drive and started home. I just wanted to go to sleep forever and never wake up.
We pulled up to the house and I got out, and ran into the house. My dad was sitting on the couch. My mom came inside and was talking to my dad. I ran into my bedroom and leapt onto my bed sobbing. I could hear mumbles coming from the next room. I figured mom was telling him what happened. I jumped up and opened the door. “Mom I need to go to his house, “I shouted. “Maybe that’s not such a good-, “I cut her off. “All of his records are mine now and I need to go over there now,” I yelled. I got into the car without another word. She followed me and drove to the big red house, and I opened the black door. “Will you stay out here? I need to do this by myself,” she nodded and stood on the porch. I continued inside and I looked around. Then I walked right over to that giant shelf full of records and touched a few. Then I took out my favorite Patsy Cline record and threw it at the wall and it cracked right down the middle. Then I tipped over the shelf throwing records all over the house. Mom came running in and tried to stop me. “I don’t want any of this anymore, it’s not the same without him,” I said sobbing and yelling. I continued to throw things and then I finally stopped. I grabbed my stomach and cried, the pain was too much to take anymore. I ran over to my mom and wrapped my arms around her and cried. She put her hand on my head and rubbed my back. “It is all going to be alright,” she insisted. I shook my head. I let go and headed to the car. She stayed behind and stood there. I looked back at her then turned around and got into the car.
As soon as we got back home I grabbed my record, player and took it outside. “Take this I don’t want it, I don’t care what you do just get rid of it,” I told my mom. She nodded and closed the door behind her as she walked out. I went to my room and shut the door. For six months I barley came out of that room. When I did come out it was to take cold showers, go to the bathroom and maybe eat twice a week. I laid in bed and cried until I couldn’t anymore. Then I just lay there in the dark, staring at the ceiling. Mom came into my room and told me to get my stuff because she found a house and we were moving. I ignored her and continued staring at the blank ceiling. She got my stuff and made me stand up. My dad hugged me as we left the house. We drove to her new house and I got out of the car, still not talking. I walked into the new house and found my bedroom.
In there I saw a record on my bed, I picked it up and saw my mom standing in the doorway smiling. “How? When?” I said trying to find the words. “I found another copy at his house,” she said. “But I don’t have a record player,” I said. “We can find you a new one. There are a couple of yard sales down the street why don’t you go look for one,” she said. I walked out of the house, with a skip in my step. For the first time in a long time I felt happy. I ran down the block until I saw a yard sale and I looked around not seeing anything. I continued down the street, and saw another yard sale. I crossed the street and as I was looking around something caught my eye. I saw a wooden record player, it looked very familiar. I ran over to it and opened the lid. Inside I saw the initials D.R carved inside. I couldn’t believe it, It was the same one that Uncle Danny had given me. I picked it up and walked over to the lady. “How much?” I asked. She looked at me, “You really want that piece of junk? Go ahead its yours,” she said. I looked at her shocked I ran home and pushed open the door. I ran upstairs and plugged it in. I placed the Patsy Cline record on the turntable and listen to track four. I slowly felt all the broken pieces in my chest being put back together. My mom came into my room and sat next to me. She wrapped her arm around me and we healed together. Over the years, we have laughed, loved, and we moved on.

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