|"Is It Real?" does not own this photograph|
When I Was Eight…
“Brittani, come here child!” my father yelled in his baritone voice. He stood at the base of the hallway with one hand against the wall holding up his drunken broad stature and a bottle of Jack in the other. Without hesitation, I quickly stopped what I was doing and ran to his call.
“Yes, sir?” I responded as I approached him out of breath and startled by what his next command would be.
As his newly opened bottle spilled large drops of liquor in my eye, he began yelling, “Didn’t I tell you not to leave your toys on the front porch?!” Before I could answer, I felt the warm alcohol all over my face. Hurt and embarrassed, yet very familiar with expecting the worst, I stood there to take whatever was coming next. The next three hours being beaten, humiliated, and demeaned left me numb, yet sure that things couldn’t always be this way. When he had finally used all his energy to leave bruises and wounds on my small, frail body, he walked away as if nothing had happened.
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
When I Was Twelve…
My mother and father finally divorced by the time I was nine. The many nights of watching my mother crawl into corners in fear of his tyrant attitude had finally come to an end. However, the coming years of his harassment had just begun.
One day after school when I was twelve and as I waited for my mother, he pulled up in a new luxury vehicle he had just purchased. Obviously excited and wanting to boast to his daughter, he got out and told me he wanted to take me for a ride and to get ice cream.
“Dad, let me call mom first to let her know you’re picking me up,” I replied. I just wanted to be sure she knew where I was.
By the large sigh he let out, I knew he wasn’t pleased. “You don’t trust me or something? Why would you need to call her, huh?” he began. “I don’t get it?! I am your father. You don’t have to call her to tell her I’m picking you up. You just get your stupid self in this car,” he demanded. His tone quickly changed and his body language went from laid back to aggressive in a matter of milliseconds.
“But I don’t know if I should, dad. I don’t want her to come and then I’m not here. That’s all,” I responded. I actually didn’t want to go out of fear of what his growing anger may lead him to do. I had always been his punching bag. I didn’t think there was anything that would make that day any different from those in our past.
“I tell you what, you little ingrate,” he began as he picked me up by my neck and began to shake me uncontrollably, “You and your MOM, can go to hell. How dare you?” he yelled as he threw me to the ground and walked away. As if that wasn’t enough, but somehow luckily for me, there were other kids around, so the scene stopped there for him. Somehow I was relieved that he walked away. But I knew he’d be back.
When I Was Fifteen…
A few years and a few pleas of forgiveness later for his previous behavior, my dad’s diagnosis of colon cancer was progressing at a rapid rate. You would think being under that type of physical stress would change a person and make them try to change their lives, but unfortunately I’ve read that it’s rare for the narcissistic to do so. There was an afternoon when I’d gone by his hospital room to visit him while he was at one of his lowest points. Even at fifteen I had some insight into loving parents with unconditional emotion. When I arrived he immediately started in on me about showing up during his bathing period. It seemed to enrage him that I was seeing him in that state.
“How dare you show up without calling me, girl?! You have absolutely no right being here right now. You’re so stupid!”
Before I could even make it out of dodge, he threw a bowel-filled bed pan at me and continued to yell obscene language of disgust at me. The nurses helped clean me up. While my father just walked out of the room, patient gown wide open in the back, yelling and cursing his anger of the situation.
When I Was Eighteen...
By the time I graduated from high school, I had made the decision that I was not going to allow my father to be a part of my life anymore. He had put through enough abuse and shame. I was beginning to see that I was becoming more responsible for my own life. Three days after my graduation my father showed up at my mother’s house to give me a graduation present. That was the last thing I expected to receive from him. When I turned five he refused to buy any gifts because he had bet all his money on a basketball game with one of his mechanic shop buddies.
I opened the door surprised by a bouquet of red roses and a box wrapped perfectly. My mom would have been very upset to know I let him in her house. She despised him. She just couldn’t shake the wrong he had imposed on her.
I took a chance. Probably the wrong chance. “Ok, dad, you can come in, but for no more than thirty minutes. Momma comes home from work pretty soon,” I demanded as he walked in. I could smell the loud cologne he was wearing. And his attire was rather sharp than normal. Even his shoes seemed to have had a recent professional buffing. The one thing that hadn’t changed was his alcohol induced breath. It was the first thing that I noticed as he kissed me on the lips walking past me. I was stunned.
“Hey, baby girl,” he began headed for the couch. “I want you to know that your daddy is real proud of you. You know, graduating and all.” Then he paused. He looked at me waiting for a response, but I was still in shock from the kiss at the door. Holding my lip trying to make sense of the kiss, he continued. “I know I haven’t always been the best dad. Heck some would say a little too hard on you sometimes, but it was all because I didn’t know how to express my love for you.” He got up from the couch and walked over closer to me. Put his arm around my waist and turned me face to face to shock me with the most disgusting words I’d ever heard.
“If I could have just been able to say how in love with you I was, I may not have been so hard on you. I love you and have always seen something special in you. Now you’re a grown woman. I know it may not seem normal to you at first as you hear this, but I need you honey.” My eyes must have had a very profound statement in them because he immediately seemed to know he had crossed a forbidden line.
“Daddy, you stop with that right now. That’s nonsense!” I began to yell to him. I was beginning to be more bold with my dislike of his actions, but he was about to shut me down once again. He quickly walked over to me, slapped me with all his mite, then spit on me as I lay on the ground in pain and disgust for having even opened the door. Pinning me down, he spent the next fifteen or so minutes forcing me to perform fellatio on him. I was ashamed and felt like he had ripped my very soul from my body. He stole all the strength I had mustered up inside. He took it all away. How he was able to consciously do that still baffles me, but some things are never to be known, I guess. Before he walked out the door, he promised he would kill me and my mother if I ever opened my lips about what had happened. I believed him and I didn’t.
When I Was Twenty-One…
It had been 3 years since I last spoke to my father. I think he knew what he had done was wrong and I for sure was not trying to revisit anything that reminded me of him. I was in my junior year of college and finally feeling like I was getting to some level of comfort with myself. I was learning to accept that all the things my father had done was because he was a sick man. Even with his physical illness, he was not capable of seeking the good out of himself, let alone others.
It was Fall and the weather was quite crisp in the late night air. I awakened from a nightmare reliving the horrible day my father molested me. I was sweating from brow to brow and had only one thing on my mind: GET RID OF THE MAN THAT CONTINUES TO WALK OUT OF MY LIFE. That same night I drove to my father’s house in search of answers, in search of an apology, in search of something from the man that stole everything from me.
As I honked my car horn in his driveway, the lights in the house came on and I could see his, now feeble and aged silhouette from the window of his bedroom. Five minutes later, he came out in his robe with no pants on looking mad as the dickens.
“Get in the car,” I yelled. “Get in the car!” I could feel the adrenaline running through my veins as he walked closer to the car.
“Quit all that damn honking. It’s midnight for God’s sake!” he yelled back, waving his hands as he walked towards the car door. He reluctantly got in, but sat in the passenger seat, all frowns. “What the hell you doing all this for? You trying to get someone killed?”
“No daddy, I’m trying to get some answers. Some closure. I need to know why you continued to hurt me over and over again!” I cried at the top of my lungs. He just sat and looked forward out the window. “It’s been repeated nights, since I was eight, that I can remember just being scared of not waking up, daddy! And it’s all because of how you treated me. Even after you and mom split the pain seemed to grow stronger! I just want to know why you wanted me dead!” I continued as he remained stoned face and unchanged by my plea for understanding. I was looking for some remorse for what he had done to me. And I got nothing. I stopped my plea. I cleared my teary eyes and wiped my face. I gave up.
When I had gathered myself and he realized I was finished with my questions, he quietly got out of the car, raised his hand, and waved goodbye. He started towards the house just as unconcerned about my needs. He was always able to walk away from doing me wrong. As if my life meant nothing. He tried to make me invalid. He tried to take away everything I would ever be able to become. I couldn’t let him do it anymore. I reached under the driver’s seat and pulled out the gun that I always kept for protection. I shot him.
I just couldn’t let him walk away from me again.