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The Happy New Year
The weekend started out normal, like always. We got out of school on Friday and headed home.
“Hurry, go get your stuff,” he yelled. I opened the door and the smell of Mom’s homemade cookies filled the air. I grabbed my duffel bag and went to the kitchen to tell Mom bye.
“Have fun Sweetie, but you call me if you need anything. I’ll be there in less than ten minutes.” She handed me a bag of warm cookies and kissed my forehead. I threw my arms around her and hugged her so tight.
“I will Mom. I love you.” And I ran out the door to throw my stuff in the truck.
My brother was taking a friend this weekend, so I crawled in the back of the little truck. It wasn’t even a full seat, so I was squished in sideways. My brother got into the driver’s seat, and his friend got in next.
I was thirteen years old. This was supposed to be a Happy New Year.
We were finally there. Daddy came out of his house and I ran to him, excited to see he was well.
“Hey Baby Doll,” he said as I was giving him a bear hug.
“Hey Daddy,” I said. I love the way he smells. A clean cut smell of Old Spice Cologne mixed with a hint of cigarette smoke. Not attractive to most, but it’s what I grew up with. It brings back old memories of Christmas with the family. Laughter and smiles. Hugs and kisses. Enjoyment and structure. Family and Father. Daddy.
He helped us unload our bags and we went inside to visit.
“I’m going to have a couple friends over tonight…,” Daddy says, “You know, because of the New Year and everything.”
“Daddy!” I said, startled.
“It will be okay honey, I promise. Just tonight and then we can do whatever you want tomorrow. The boys already know so they are getting some firewood together. You can stay inside if you want, but I don’t want anyone else in here. I would really like you to join us though.” He got up, and disappeared down into the empty basement, to â€˜start the old wood stove.’ He would always periodically go down there to check the fire, and as he would come up everytime, his face would slowly change.
I was disappointed, hurt, and let down. I felt unloved, and like he didn’t care about me. My heart was sinking into my stomach. He wasn’t supposed to be like this.
He went outside, with a very red face. Eyes were red, and unfocused. I could hear cars pulling up. Car after car after car. There was a bonfire, music, lots of people, and lots of alcohol.
I was so angry! I went into the bathroom and watched myself cry. My eyes began turning red and puffy. I just wanted to leave. I couldn’t call Mom because then she would never let me see my daddy again. He would be taken away forever this time, not just for a few months.
My dad is an alcoholic. My mom divorced him because of abuse. I wasn’t allowed to see him for months because of harassment. My dad will never stop the monster he has created. I am not good enough to make him want to stop.
After I dried my face, the hurt went away and was followed by frustration. Yes, I should have called my mom, but instead I walked down into the chamber of darkness, where the wood stove sat alone. I knew it was down here somewhere. I began searching the dust buckets, feeling for a bottle of something. It wasn’t there. I looked under the stairs, but It wasn’t there. When I turned around, I saw a board covering a small hole in the wall. I lifted the heavy board and reached my hand inside. There it is. I found it. It was a bottle with a brown paper sack over it. Something I knew very well growing up as a child.
As a child I always thought it was just a bad potion given to him by a wicked witch. One day I would find the witch and pour water on her, and watch her melt away. As she would melt away, I would watch and laugh in her face, and yell at her for ruining my family. Everything would be okay after that, though.
I sat there and studied the brown bag covering the bottle. I pulled the bottle out. Wild Turkey, about halfway gone. I opened the lid, and took a huge gulp. It burned my throat like nothing imaginable. I could feel it traveling down and hit my stomach. I started crying because of the way it made my throat hurt. The after burn was the worst part.
Even though it hurt so badly, I took another one. I wanted to know why he liked it so much. I wanted to feel what he feels, and know what was so great about it that he never wanted to stop.
I drank the whole bottle. My head suddenly began spinning, so I laid down on the dirty cold floor. When I got up, it started spinning again and it made my feet stumble. I felt like my whole body was spinning in circles. As it slowed down, I tried walking up the stairs. I stepped on the first stair, lost my balance, and fell backwards.
I got down on my knees and crawled up the stairs on all fours. I made it to the top. I stood and was able to make it to the fridge. I opened it looking for anything more I could drink. The only thing in the fridge was beer. I opened it and had lost my sense of taste. It wasn’t hard this time at all. I chugged it, and then smashed it and threw it on the floor. I’ll let Dad clean up my mess tomorrow. We’ll see how proud of me he is then.
I was drunk enough now to go outside. To find Dad and be like him.
“Glad to see you joined us Darlin,” he slurred as he ran towards me, grabbing my arm, almost knocking me down. “You look like you’ve had some fun. Have another one, “and he handed me a wine cooler.
I drank a lot as the night went on. It wasn’t as much fun as they all seemed to make it be. I was uncomfortable with older men looking at me, acting like they needed to hold me up so I wouldn’t stumble, when really they were the ones who needed the help. The night went on.
I had gone inside and layed down, and I woke up probably only ten minutes later, to Dad taking my shoes off, then hearing my brother yelling at him. For some reason they got into a fight. Dad left my side and I sat up, feeling like my stomach was going to come up too.
“Get your fat ass outta my house now!” Dad was screaming at the top of his lungs to my brother. He had gone into his room, and I saw him run through the living room with a loaded gun. He was going to kill my brother and his friend. I had to do something. I was so drunk I couldn’t see the numbers on my phone to call for help.
I stood up and ran after him. I reached him at the kitchen. There I tried grabbing the gun and we wrestled it back and forth from each other. Lots of kicking, screaming, and biting. I was finally able to overpower him and take the gun. I ran out of the house with him chasing me, very close on my tail. I ran into the barn trying to lose him. I ran so hard, because I was so afraid he was going to catch me. When I finally looked behind me, he was gone.
I sat the gun down and covered it with straw. I didn’t know what to do with it. I sat there and cried and rocked myself, so scared and miserable.
All of a sudden, someone from behind me cuffed their hand around my mouth to keep me from screaming. I squirmed and tried screaming so hard, wiggling like a worm.
“Shhh… it’s just us,” My brother said. “Its gonna be alright. I promise. Just try to be quiet. We need to get out of here. Are you okay? Can you walk?”
“I’m okay. I don’t have any shoes on.” I cried.
He picked me up on his back, and we went to the opening in the barn. There was no way to see if the coast was clear, but we ran for it anyways, me on my brother’s back.
Dad could be anywhere. He could have gone back inside and gotten another gun. He could have found the one I hid. He could be behind us with an axe from the workshop. There is no feeling in the world like running to try to save your life, thinking that in ten minutes, three young children could be dead, our bodies laying on each other until someone came to find us. And our own father would have been the murderer.
We didn’t stop running. We kept going. The boys were breathing hard and I could feel my brother’s heart beating fast. As we got far enough away from the house my brother called the police.
Finally we saw the cop car coming. We got into the car and finally knew everything was going to be okay. He took us down to the police station where they called Mom. Sure enough Mom was there in less than ten minutes. I hugged her so hard, and cried into her about how sorry I was.
“It’s okay baby. It’s okay. You will never have to do this again. It’s okay baby. Shhh…” She tried calming me.
I haven’t seen that man in four years. We pressed charges on him and he said we were crazy and too drunk to remember that night well. He only served fifteen days in jail. The harassment still comes and goes every once in a while. I tried having a relationship with him after that, but it didn’t work. He is very sick in the head and needs mental help, much more than I can give. He makes me feel guilty for leaving him all alone in an empty house by himself, with nothing to comfort him, except for his bottle. But that is all he wants. He made that decision a long time ago. It makes me sad but I am okay. I have a strong support team and strong people to take care of me. I still have Mom and my brother, and now I have his friend as my boyfriend.
It’s very sad to me, knowing I don’t have a father, but I am okay.