Beer Belly | Teen Ink

Beer Belly

December 19, 2019
By ea113308 BRONZE, Hemet, California
ea113308 BRONZE, Hemet, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

  I dedicate this to my father; a hard-working man with a stone-cold heart.

     When I was a child, I had my Dad’s crystal clear blue eyes with those golden rings swirled around them like they were being hypnotized. My mom told me that they were the only good trait I had inherited from him. They had gotten divorced when I hadn’t even turned two. One of the only memories I have of them together, was when we were sitting around a campfire, deep in the woods, staring at the speckled night sky. I remember the sky was as clear as water and the stars were winking at me.  Maybe this was one of my dreams… but I like to tell myself they were once happy together.

Growing up, I was born in New York but because of my Dad’s stupid job in the Marines, we had to move all the way across the nation to California. I’m not sure why they stationed him in one of the busiest states in the world, but sometimes I tell myself they did it to ruin my life. When we moved I had just turned 12, so I was going into middle school. Back in New York, I remember I wasn’t one of the most popular girls in my tiny school, but I had a nice group of friends. In California, I had no friends at all. Whenever people would talk to me, I think it was because they felt bad for me. I was the happiest reading because, in my books, no one could pick on me like a dirty, old, scab. 

Once I had gotten into high school, things started to change. My mom had met this young, rich, doctor who she claimed she loved. I think she only loved his money though. Once she got married to him, she started to forget that I even existed. She stopped showing up to my soccer games and my band concerts, so I was left to live with my dad. Sometimes I feel that when I moved out she was happier because it was one less thing she had to worry about. I stopped being able to recognize her after she started changing her face to make her look like a living Barbie Doll. At least she was happy though. 

Once I moved in with my Dad, I started to isolate myself even more than I had when I was in middle school. I mean, I loved living with my dad, but he never seemed to fully understand me because I was a teenage ball of hormones. I don’t blame him for that, but it would have been nice to have someone comfort me when I had been having a rough day or needed someone to talk to. 

Eventually, I had started to get really sad. Everywhere I went it felt like there was a rain cloud above my head that followed me around. I lost the few friends I had because they told me I was too boring to hang out with anymore. They had stopped inviting me to sleepovers and movie nights and I eventually stopped caring. Every day felt the same. I would go to school, talk to no one, come home, and see my dad open a new can of Bud Light beer. He didn’t even notice that I had chopped all my hair off during one of my mental breakdowns… or he didn’t say anything about it at least. 

Months passed and I remember one day at school my teacher noticed the red lines. I guess I didn’t shove my sleeves down far enough. She sent me to my school psych and I started to have regular meetings twice a week. Slowly, I started to gain my confidence back and that rain cloud above my head started to shrink. I was able to laugh again and I even found an awesome group of friends that made me happy. 

Meanwhile, at home, my Dad started to go through the same thing I did… but worse. His beer belly grew significantly and I tried to be there for him since he had no one else. He lost his job in the Marines for showing up drunk and everything started to spiral out of control. He was spending so much money on beer bottles and cans that sometimes he couldn’t even feed me dinner. Luckily, I was old enough to get a job at our local Stater Brothers, but I wasn’t able to do it by myself. One night he screamed at me so loud, my eardrums rang for 30 minutes straight. After that, I just avoided him altogether.

My summer going into senior year, he died of liver failure. I remember getting home late one night and seeing his fluffy body lying motionless on the tile floor. The rest is a blur but I will never forget that night. 

I’m 21 now, and in college. I’m working hard to get my Master's in human psychology so that I can help people like my father and myself. No one ever deserves to die from an addiction that comes with a beer belly. 


The author's comments:

A realistic struggle that several teens may be able to relate to with alcoholic parents and depression.


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