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What I Deserved
I sat there, silently crying, and took what apparently I deserved. He had been drinking more then usual lately and it'd been getting worse. That meant long sleeves every day, and no shorts, even though it was almost summer at that point.
He took out his belt and I unconsciously pulled my arms over my head. The blow hit my side and I stifled my cry, knowing it will only make him madder if he heard me.
This had been going on for years now but it'd never been this bad. Teachers were asking me more and more questions and I had to make more and more excuses. "Oh, I tripped." "I accidently walked into a door." "I fell out of my bed." They never seemed to completely buy it, but they didn't ask again, so for then, it worked. But I still had to be cautious of what was showing and what wasn't.
When he finally went to the living room to drink his nightly six-pack of Miller Lite, watch ESPN, and pass out on the couch, I sobbed. The pain isn't what bothered me anymore - I'd turned practically numb to that - it was just that I didn't get what I'd done to make him like this. I remember when I was little and I thought he was Superman, when I thought he was perfect, when he was my father. I remember how sudden the change was. One day, he seemed perfectly normal, happy to see me and my mom when he got home from work, he ate dinner with us at the table, and he actually conversed with us. Then the next day, he was different. He came home, without greeting either me or my mother, and went up to bed. The day after, he was worse. He came home with a plastic bag with the local drugstore logo on the side, didn't even glance at us, took out his first six-pack from his bag, and went out to the living room. He didn't even go up to his room that night... I know because I remember hearing my mom crying through the wall.
Later I found out, he had actually lost his job, but not wanting us to know, he hid it. Every single day he would go the bar, and sit like a bum, until 6, acting like he was at work. Turns out I wasn't the only one with a secret.
But when I get to school the next day - starting to feel what I hadn't the night before - there were two officers waiting for me at my locker. Oh no, they found out. Tonight's going to be horrible, is what I thought.
"Elizabeth Parker?" They asked me, and I nodded. "Your father has been arrested for child abuse. You're free."
My jaw dropped, and I didn't believe them. "How did you find out?"
"Your teachers have been reporting it for months, but never had any evidence. Your neighbors saw him beating you through your window last night."
It's been 3 years since then. I live with my mom and have been seeing a therapist. "Your father is in prison, far away from here. You'll never see him again," is what my social worker has been telling me.
But I'll always be haunted by the secret I had to keep, and even though he's gone now, I'll always be haunted by the idea of him.