The Silent Flame Rises

May 25, 2011
By Anonymous

I was around eight years old. The day is cold, much like my father's heart. It was dark, wrong, my mind started racing. I remember hearing the arguing from the living room. The lights off. My sisters and I sit there. Listening.
Thinking, not again. Something that seems to happen so commonly. But really thinking, is this the last time? Will it be over? So many thoughts, possible outcomes run through my head like a scratched cd. Waiting is all we could do at that point. Finding out. He cheated. Once again. He cheated.
His story? Out. He was out like always. She drives up to the bar. The bar where he was. She spots his truck; parked right out the front door. through the glass sure enough there is my dad. Sitting there with his arm around another woman holding her tightly. A woman that wasn't my mother. She confronts him. Greets him with her fist to his side. Anger built up. A livid tone in her voice. Yet he didn't really care. She stormed out; he's trying to follow. Fails. The fight lead home.
What more did he want? It gets me furious. My mother is the best person he could ever ask for; he doesn't deserve her. When they argued, I remember the tone of his voice. Careless.
The moment of relief we all felt when the fight was finally over. this time was different though. his clothes out the door. Tossing them out like a box of old rags. She was done. The pain and frustration my mom was put through, I can totally understand. Visualizing so many scenarios. Thinking. What will he think? What will he do? How will he react? But at that point overall, I didn't care. I was always going to be by my mom's side no matter what.
Then come the flames. One of the most idiotic things you could think of. He lit his clothes on fire. I can still picture myself looking through our office window, watching as orange illuminated the air around him. The smell of smoke.
His expression; his eyes. I can see his fury; I feel it. Mad at himself? no. mad at my mom for being right? Getting caught? Yes. No reason he has to be upset but yes. His face red. Eyebrows frowning. I knew what he was thinking. He was upset now, but I know he knew deep down things would blow over. Then he could do the same thing all over again.
The night was over; he left. Came back the next day and embarrassed himself. He had no clothes. Mom always bought them all for him. He walked through that door. Those clothes. That wearied face. Baggy jeans. Something he swore he would never wear. Turns out he couldn't even buy himself the right pair of jeans. The laughter went through my head. All I could think was wow. Just wow.
Life with him is still the same. It's sad, because looking back I still and have always have felt the same way about my dad. Honestly, financial support is the only reason why we're still here.
father, I dedicate this all to you. You've done so much. Too much. You've given me feelings of hurt and the mentality of never being good enough. The pain you've caused all of us, has shaped me to be a more cautious person and to steer clear of people like you, because I know I'll only end up getting hurt like mom has these past 30 years. I do thank you for those tiny tiny fun moments we've had and for ALWAYS ALWAYS giving us a roof over our heads, but besides that, I'm done. The fire's burnt every chance dad had to change. Let him remain the same. All there's left is ashes.

The author's comments:
This memoir was inspired by my father. It's something very personal to me and I want people to see that life can't always go your way. We should learn to appreciate the good people we have in our life and not take them for granted. Some people don't always have it easy.

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