Addiction.

April 7, 2011
"Please." I begged. Lemony yellow sluggish sunlight glowed from a icy blue summer sky and clouds fled to some distant corner of Heaven. I had grass stains on my knees and three Scooby-Doo bandaids on my arms. There was a little bit of dirt on my shirt and a smudge of chocolate icecream on my chin. I had freckles then too, all over like sand on the shore. I felt tiny pin pricks of pain in my eyes like little needles as tears swelled. But he just shook his head sadly, a slow rhythm like the clock in the living room. He ran a hand through his blond hair and sighed, a slow sad sigh. I knew it was a bad sign. "Angel, I can't." I tugged at my tee shirt and scrapped the gravel with my old little pink flip flops. I was six years old with long swinging pigtails and scarpes and brusies all over. That was the first time I begged him to stop chewing tobaccco. Then when I was thirteen with blue rubbber bands on my braces,even more freckles and long gangly limbs. I was in a blue bikini under a floral white and green cover up, covered in sand and sitting on a towel. We were coming home from the beach and the sun was setting the sky afire in shades of pink and orange. Some kind of pop music was playing distantly in the background. Slowly with a protesting squeal the driver side window rolled down. A bit lump of sticky tobaaco was airborn and landed on the roadside, physical proof I hated to see. "Please Daddy," I remember pleading, "Please stop chewing that stuff! I hate it so much!" "Angel, its an addiction, its not that easy." He says softly, my own eyes in his face blinking slowly. "It was a stupid mistake in high school, but I would die without it." I knew this was an exaggeration. "And I'll die without you!" I snapped back, clear tears tasting like the ocean spilling over my eyes. I breifly wondered if the ocean was just a big pool of other people's tears. A giant collection of sorrow on display for the world to see its broken dreams. But I was denied. The next time I talked to him about it I was seventeen. I was in a red dress for the school dance, my braces gone and my freckles faded quite a bit. My curly hair was sparkly from the glitter theyd been tossing around and I was tired from all the dancing. I held a single white balloon on the steps. My dad went to hug me hello but paused to spit out tobacco. Furious and embrassed I let go of the balloon and it became a beacon of lost hope qickly buffeted into the night by uncontrollable forces. I ran into the school halls, crying openly. I heard the thick thunk thunk thunk of work botts and felt warm arms around me. Big bright green eyes searched my face and a balding head caught the dim light in the hall. "Angel, angel what's wrong?" "Dad how could you? Its bad enough I have to see you do that, but in front of the school? Now everyone will know!" "Know what?" he asked quizzically. "Know my dad's an addict!" i roared, years of pent up fustration exploding in one red faced, mascara smearing burst of rage. "Addict?"My Dad said , shock a bright streak in his eyes. "Yes Dad. Addict. As in, addicted to spitting tobacco. It makes you sick. You could die Dad! Or get horribly sick and then die! I've done m research, your opening yourself to so much disease and you do it willingly. And you know it hurts me to see you like this!" "Anna-" "Your breath stinks from it, and sometimes its under your tounge when you kiss me goodnight and i hate it dad i Hate it!" I screamed. My father stood there woodenly as he slowly processed what I'd said. I think the word "addict" is what most snagged his attention. Addicts to him wheere heroin, crack or crystal meth users, he'd never thought to apply it to himself. He hugged me and I felt a rush of relief. Dad was gonna make things okay.

Dad didn't make things okay. Which is why at twenty-one I got a call from the hospital at 11am. No good news ever comes at 11am. My father, long sick with oral and lung cancer was losing his fight. He looked sickly and emaciated when I entered the room. He was tucked into a white sheeted bed the color of snow, only a shade or two darker then his complection. He had thin to no sliver hair and a carefully trimmed mustache. I went to him, tall and slender with almost no freckles, straight teeth, long brown hair and bright green eyes in a pairof jeans and a Grumpy teeshirt. So much had changed since the first day I'd asked and yet so little. I kissed his forehead like he himself had done when I was sick in bed. And like a past me had, he blinked slowly, dull green eyes focusing in on me as he rapsed for breath. "Angel." he whispered. I held his skinny weak blotched hand, "I'm here Daddy." "I'm so...so sorry Angel. I...I know I disa-disapointed you." "Its okay daddy. Everything's gonna be okay." "Yes, I'm..I'm going to be with your momma now. You have your momma's hair ...you know." Once again tears spilled over. "I know daddy." "I..I love you Angel." he whispered, i could hear the heart monitor slowing and the painful icy grasp on my heart tightening. "No daddy, don't go..." "I'm sorry, Angel.I..I really do..love you." "I love you too Daddy." I whispered. With strength he hadn't had in years, my father sat up and kissed my forehead a last time, and with a deep sigh of content, left this earth. I wept for hours. He had been defeated, my proud strong daddy, by a little sliver can. I found three cans under his pillow case and got so mad I threw them through a window and broke it. I loved my Dad. More then I can say, and the tears I've cried sure could have filled the ocean by themselves. But I could never love his addiction.





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