[TW for abusive situations]
Waking up in the morning, I know he's out there, and he's drunk. I go back to sleep until he passes out. I don't want to listen to him today.
Why the fuck can't you let my mother have a little extra cash without whining about it? She pays most of her income towards bills. You obviously have enough extra to get drunk on for two weeks straight, before the money runs out. Why do you have to play these control games?
I love you, you say. The only time all summer you say it to me, and I'm outside beating the rugs that are covered in dirt from your boots. One of many things you do that make me feel like dirt, and I don't even care what you think of me. How much worse for my mother?
How dare you call me your daughter? You adopted me when you married my mother, but then you disappeared for ten years. You are not my father. Step-father, I grant only because you're married to my mother. My real father doesn't treat me or his wife or my sister like shit.
Flashback to January. I sit on the side of the tub, where I'm hiding, and listen to the shouting. Angry over nothing, everything, he shouts that his life is ruined because we called the ambulance this morning when my uncle thought he was having a heart attack. Our mistake. He was only black-out drunk. Nothing wrong here, sir, now go away.
Dear God, please tell me this is the right decision. My hands shake where I hold the cell phone, debating who to call. "If you throw one more thing at me, I'll call the police," she says. That's when I know. I dial 9-1-1. Breathless, I don't hear the operator the first time he asks me what's wrong. I literally do not recall hearing any sound except the shouting and crying. Then I say it. My Dad is drunk and throwing things at my Mom. Yes, the same place the ambulance was called to this morning.
Knock, knock, five minutes later. I leave the bathroom and open the outside door for the nice officer peering in. There's only one step between the doors. One step to safety. My mother stands there, confused. I say I called them. I love you too, he says sarcastically.
When they're gone, I just hug my mother. She's thankful her brother was asleep through the whole thing, or there would be two men going to jail. One for domestic violence, the other for assault. I almost wish he had been awake. Almost.
I'm not staying here anymore, while he's here. We did this when I was a kid, and I hid upstairs on my bed. We rented a house, then. I'm twenty now. I can find somewhere else to go.
You won't have to stay at your father's next time, she tells me. He'll be gone soon. I'm filing divorce papers.
You're so brave, Mom. Thank you for taking care of yourself. I'll be there when you need me.
If you are in an abusive situation, physical or not, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (US & Canada): 1-800-799-SAFE* or check out their site. RAINN is a site particularly for sexual abuse.
*1-800-799-7233 if you're like me and have a full keyboard on your phone.