I knew the day was coming long before my dad could even guess I was thinking about running. He was blindsided by pretty much everything but his job and his new girlfriend of the month. My mom had passed about three years ago; nothing was ever the same after that. The first months were okay he would just drink and then cry himself to sleep; I always worried if he was ever going to be okay again.
About three months into his grieving process, he became angry, this was when things got the worst and they stayed this way for a while. He said he would never hit me, he never did, but he would break anything in his path. He became cold hearted.
When he began dating again, things were okay for a while. Almost five years passed and I have lost count of how many different women I have met. The first one I got close to, that was a mistake. I never got close to another one of his women. Sometimes they were in and out before I even got the chance to learn their name. I knew they were there though; I could hear them leave in the mornings.
He started to neglect things like our bills so I picked up extra shifts at the Pizza Palace. School became much harder; I barely had time to get my homework done because of those extra shifts. My job wouldn’t cut it, I barely made minimum wage. The first thing to go was the internet, and then the cable and dad became angry with me.
“C’mon! Why can’t you do anything right? You should have had the bill paid by now! Your mother was always on top of things!”
I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t ask for more shifts and they eventually started taking my extra shifts away because other people needed them. My dad scared me, he would always scream about the internet and cable, and he would throw his beer bottles at the wall, but around his girls, he acted as if everything was normal. They never suspected anything was wrong.
The night I ran, he broke his promise. The one promise I always clung to when he was in one of his scary moods. He grabbed me by the arm so tight I began to lose circulation, and as he raised his hand, I looked at his face and saw his lifeless pale eyes that held no emotion for what he was about to do. As his hand struck my face, I thought about all of our happy times together before mom died, we were the picture perfect family. I saw all of the picnics in the park. I saw all of the ice cream shop visits. I saw all of the drives to Aunt Bev’s in Tennessee. Then they faded. I looked at him catching the realization in his eyes but he did not seem phased, he pushed me to the side and continued to yell about missing the football game. I began to sob whilst sitting on the floor, which only made him scream more.
“You are so stupid! Get off the floor and do something productive.”
I ran into my room and began grabbing all of the things I thought I would need. I didn’t want to come back but, I didn’t know where I was going either.
I began packing my toiletries and a few outfits that I could mix and match. I would have to wash everything by hand once I settled down somewhere, for now I would mask everything with deodorant and perfume. I didn’t want to do it, but I mean what else could I do?
Once packed, I snuck into my dad’s room and dug through his drawers looking for any cash, pulling out a couple of twenties and some fives, nothing that would last very long. Frantically running out of the room and back to mine, I began to search for any change I could find, only finding two dollars and thirty-eight cents. I paced around my room trying to think of ways to get money, when it dawned on me, I knew my dad’s pin number for his credit cards, and his wallet was in the living room where he was probably sleeping.
So I snuck down the stairs to see what my dad was doing. While descending, the steps creaked and I heard him stirring about before I made it down. My heart rapidly began to beat and I held my breath taking the last steps faster than the rest, practically running. I peeked around the corner to look into the living room and saw my dad sleeping. He looked so peaceful. There was no way he would ever look as serene as he did in this moment, I thought to myself. I creeped around the table on my tiptoes and grabbed his wallet out from underneath his exotic magazines, trying to be as quiet as possible. While looking to see if he heard anything, a magazine came out from under a glass of water, which tipped over onto the floor making a soft thud on the carpet with the water spilling everywhere. He stirred. I panicked thinking he was going to wake but he just turned his head the other direction facing away from me. I quickly grabbed one of his credit cards out of the pockets, threw his wallet back on the table and scurried upstairs as fast as possible making as little noise as possible.
After I put his card and the extra cash in my wallet, I put it in my backpack. I opened my window and looked out into the beautiful night sky with its bright stars. I threw my backpack and duffel bag out the window and onto the grass. I glanced around my room one last time.
“Please be on my side for the next few weeks God,” I whispered to myself, hoping he would somehow hear my cry for help and protect me.
I climbed onto the roof, shut the window, proceeded to climb to the ledge and jumped off. I picked up bags off the ground and began walking down the road to the nearest bus station.