Monster This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 7, 2012
I was just like any other little kid. I loved to play kickball at recess and eat Mac N’ Cheese for every meal. I believed in monsters just like the other first graders in my class. My version of a monster wasn’t the same as theirs. My monster didn’t wait in the closet until I went to sleep. My monster was real. He came home late at night and woke up at five. He worked long hours and often came home angry.

He sat in his faded green recliner chair wearing his heavy Carhart coat and his greasy, ripped blue jeans. He always used to watch some car show, and would sometimes fall asleep for hours.

It was a crisp Saturday morning in November. The day started out like any other one, birds tweeting, squirrels climbing trees, and dogs barking. Nothing seemed different. I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch later. I ate my sandwich with great pleasure, enjoying every bite, then ran up to my room to play with my race track I had gotten for Christmas the previous year. I loved that race track. It was the one all the kids wanted. It was electric with 40 feet of track that twisted and turned. You had to put your little car into the car slot on the track and pull the trigger and your car would take off down the little black race track.

I hear my dad wake up from his nap down stairs and shuffle to the bathroom. I hear him flush and then the faucet starts running. He opens the door walks a couple of steps and then, complete silence.

“Daniel, get down here now!” It was a tone of un-imaginable harshness. It was a tone I’ve never heard before. I bounded down the stairs to see what’s going on and I see him holding a butter knife full of peanut butter. “Did you forget to clean up after yourself again?” he said angrily. I look to the floor as if the answer is laying there waiting for me.

He grabbed me by the shoulders and pushed down with such force that my legs gave out. I was on the ground, bewildered. I look up just in time to see his tan work boot hurdling into the side of my body hitting all of my ribs. Oxygen was immediately sucked out of my lungs. I didn’t want to look up. His rage lasts for a couple more seconds until he storms off. Ten minutes after the attack, I’m still on the ground in horror. I don’t want to move, for the fear of him coming back out-weighs any of my instincts to get up and brush myself off. My crying subsides into a steady dripping of tears. My sobbing has stopped but I still hear crying.

I look over to see my mother sitting on the stairs. The cries belong to her. I realized she had just watched her son get beaten by his father and she’s done nothing to stop him.

That would not be the only time the monster came out of the closet, nor the only time mother cried in front of me. I know other people who have gone through similar things and they blame what happened to them when they were younger for the problems they’re having now like bad grades or not being a good person, and in some cases they’re right. I use my experience as an advantage to life. Some people go into the real world after high school and are completely lost. They don’t know what to do without their mom or dad there to help them through things. I have already experienced the feeling of being on my own. With a mom constantly working and an abusive father, I learned how to do a lot of things on my own like finding my way to school and finding someone to help me with my homework. Some of the more wealthy kids can get greedy when they get whatever they want. I’ve felt what it’s like to have nothing. Coming from a very poor family has given me a different perspective on life. The kids who always have things handed to them never get anywhere. They will never have the feeling of accomplishment if everything is handed to them on a silver platter. This makes me see first-hand what not getting a good education can do to a person. I’ve encountered a real monster, and I try my hardest to make sure I will be the best person I can be, so I won’t be like him.

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