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Put the Bottle Down This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The countless fights and unsolved dilemmas still haunt my thoughts when I reminisce about my childhood. I was adopted by my biological Aunt, and her husband at the time was Karl. My biological father passed away when I was 3 months old, and nobody knows who or where my biological mother is. It seems like no one really cares, though. I got my last name from Karl, and along with its permanence came the memories.

As a child, I didn’t know my priorities. I thought my best friend Nina came before my own father—I was horribly mistaken. I spent more time with Nina than I did my own father, and I’ve came to regret that more than anything. Now it’s too late to create any memories with my father, because he lives in Ohio. He never replies to my letters, doesn’t spend more than a minute on the phone with me. I blame myself for that. I’ve made myself believe that all the heartless things I did and said to him as a child caused him to dislike me, or think less of me. I sent him a letter, explaining how I felt, and it was sent in November. It’s February now. I don’t think I’ll ever get his reply. I’m not giving up hope, though. He used to send me a letter a week, containing $5. Then he abruptly stopped and cut off all contact. Maybe he thinks I use him for money, or maybe he’s just too lazy. Too lazy to contact his own daughter.


I remember the night clearly, as though I’m reliving it every time I think about Karl. The memory always pops into my head before all the rest, and more emotional than the rest. The screams and curse words could be heard from my small bedroom on the main floor, directly above the basement. It was as if I could hear every word, every foul remark, as if the words were flooding through the vent in my floor. My mom forced Karl to live in the basement after countless fights; it was far away from her room upstairs. I tried blocking out the noises by placing my hands over my ears and thinking about other things, but the loud crash caused my eyes to shoot open and my hands to quickly transfer from my ears to my mouth.

Curiosity took over and the next thing I know I’m slowly tip-toeing down the basement steps, trying my hardest to make as little noise as possible. The occasional squeak in the floor startled me, but I was too drawn into the relentless yelling a few feet away to stop. My head peaked around the corner. My mom was facing away from me, her hands motioning in the air with her hurtful words. Karl was looking down most of the time, occasionally speaking his mind when my mom went out of line. My heart skipped a beat when his eyes locked with mine, a destroyed look on his unshaven face.

“Mommy? What’s going on?” My eyes flickered to the broken television that sat on the floor a few inches from Karl’s feet. I walked towards my mom; I saw a pile of 2-liter pop bottles sat on the crowded table next to her; my eyes were scanning the entire room.

“Nothing, Shayna. Your dad’s being mean, go back upstairs,” my mom replied. No, he’s not mean. You’re the mean one, you do this to everybody. You make everyone else seem like the bad guy but in reality, it’s always you. I wanted to leave, but I didn’t move. I stayed in the basement, stopping a few inches away from the table.

“He’s being mean? Should we throw a bottle at him?” I asked, but I didn’t know any better. I was a child, confused and shocked from the ear-splitting yelling and fighting.

“Yes, we should,” No, we shouldn’t. You shouldn’t let your daughter throw a bottle at her father. She handed me and empty Vernors bottle, stepping away to give me throwing room. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to put the bottle down, not to throw it. I wish I had enough sense in my childish brain that it had the capability to hurt people. I was young, I didn’t know any better. I wish I had. I slowly raised the bottle behind my head.

I’ll never forget Karl’s face. So many emotions were tearing at it, unable to break free. He was sad, but accepting, but torn apart from the inside out. My mother did this to him, she’s done that to every man she’s married. Every story I’ve heard, every fight has been caused by her and she’s never the one to blame, but she is at fault. Every fight was her fault; she manipulates people and makes them believe it’s not. Karl allowed me to throw the bottle, and it didn’t affect him.

I blocked out the rest. I don’t remember if the bottle hit him or missed, or if my parents ever made up or stopped fighting after the bottle that night. I’ll never know, but I don’t want to know. Whenever I’m violent towards anybody, I see Karl’s torn face, and it breaks my heart. My past has taught me that violence is not the answer, it never has been. I’ll never forgive my mom for allowing me to throw the bottle. The bottle that has changed my life forever, and molded me into who I am today. The bottle that I regret throwing. The bottle that, to this day, is why I think Karl ignores me, making me believe that he loathes me.
I wish that bottle never existed.





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baggadave said...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 8:00 am
I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU YOU'RE SO GOOD I LOVE THIS WHOLE THING IT WAS AMAZING MWHAHAHA
 
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