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The End Is Only Beginning.
I’d trusted him. I’d loved him from the day we met. I’d had to. He was my father. My feelings had changed the day I’d found out he married her. Amanda, my stepmother. I found out the day after, sitting in my grandparent’s living room.
“Haley-babe,” was my father’s nickname for me. “I have a surprise for you.”
“What?” I asked, anticipating the surprise. I’d always loved surprises.
“Amanda and I got married yesterday.” He said, covering Amanda’s hand with his. I was nine; I still wanted to believe he and my mother would end up together. Now I’m fourteen and realize that Jennifer L. no longer sounded like a name. It sounded misconstrued, wrong, depicted, incorrect.
“What?” I repeated, tears pooling in my little nine-year-old eyes.
“Aren’t you excited?” I wanted to say no. I wasn’t mad that he’d married Amanda. I could have cared less. I loved Amanda. I was upset that I hadn’t been there. I’d planned to sing at his wedding. I dreamed about the night. I loved weddings.
“Yes!” I said, enthusiastically. “I’m going to bed.” I said, hopping out of the recliner I’d been seated in and running down the hallway as fast as my nine-year-old legs would let me.
I jumped into the bunk bed my cousin, Tyler, and I shared on the Saturday nights we spent at our grandparent’s house. I slept on the bottom, and he slept on top. I spent the nights on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and since it was Wednesday, Tyler wasn’t there. I buried my head in my pillow and cried. I cried and cried and cried for what seemed like hours.
I felt betrayed, just as I would for many years after that day. My father had never really been a man true to his word. He made promises he couldn’t keep, and lied a lot throughout my life. But that night was the most he’d ever hurt me.
My father and I are close now, but it took a lot for us to get this way. A two-hour long talk, countless late lunches on Saturdays, and trips to his house on weekends. He still lied to me, though. “We’re planning to move to Mississippi in a huge house just like your uncle Mike.” He told me. “We’re buying horses.” He lied. “I’m getting a bulldog. You can name it.”
I trust my father now. But, I don’t trust him with Dalson.
I wonder what happens when I’m not there. Seeing the way they treat them makes me want to cry and take Dalson away. He took his toys outside. He got popped. He turned on the bathtub. He got smacked. He was only four, for God’s sake! I wanted to cry and hold him when I saw what they did, but I couldn’t do that. They were his parents. I couldn’t stop them. They didn’t abuse him or anything, but the way they popped him made my heart throb for the child.
I may only be fourteen, but I can see how badly they hurt him. With each spanking, his eyes got a shade darker. He was still the loud, funny kid we all knew and loved, but he changed. You may think it’s only a disciplinary action, but it depressed me. I wanted to cry and punch my dad. But I couldn’t, and still can’t.
So I sit here and wait for the day that Dalson grows up and punches my father back. For the day that Dalson can tell us his problems and not cry, simply because he’s a baby. I wait silently and watch him endure what I went through from age two to ten, and hope it will end sooner for him then it will for me.
I wait for the day that I can fully trust my father. But it seems as if I’ll be waiting for a long time. My father is not perfect, but no one is. I don’t expect him to be perfect. I only expect him to be a good father to me and Dalson, and the baby they plan to have next year. But I won’t hold my breath, because I’d turn a violent shade of black waiting on that.