Sometimes I think when the sun rises in the morning it’s just a tease. It always falls dark anyway. I guess that's how my soul feels right now, like a dark pit. The door to my bedroom slams shut and the wind blowing through my open window sends my hair flying awry. I race towards my dresser and with sweaty, shaky, palms I push it in front of the door. I sit on the floor and lean against it. I count to myself, trying my best to keep my heartbeat slow. I count the amount of times my head bangs against the dresser.
One, two, three…
Not again, this can't be happening to me. I jump to the sound of shattering glass and I squeeze my hand against my mouth to smother any sound that threatens to escape from my lips. The sweat on my back causes my shirt to stick to my skin. I knew there was something wrong when Phillip was quiet all last week. It was the quiet before the storm, and this was the storm. The screaming blows my ear drums and I stick my head between my knees trying to shut out the noise.
My mother is crying but I am not. I’m just trying to block out the noise and wait until Phillip’s Category 5 was over. I could hear my mother wimping and weeping but it’s her own fault. This is her punishment and there’s not an ounce of sympathy in my body for psychopathic lunatics.
That man is screaming for God knows what reason. Luckily my little brother Ben is safe in his room where the door is locked. I don't understand why Phillip had to show up again. I hate him. I wish he were dead just as much as I wish my mother were dead. I hate them. I hate them with every fiber of my being. I just wish they’d go away. I wanted to be Glinda the good witch and float away in my magical bubble. Better yet I wanted to be Medusa and turn them both to stone.
As far as sad, pitiful, stories go I think mine deserves an award. Phillip was the kind of father that was in and out of your life and drank beer on such a constant cycle. I was never sure if he was sober or not. Those cover stories about rich, happy, wealthy families is just as much a load of crap as when a girl says “Yes, this is my natural hair color”
Ever since I was eight Phillip came and went as he pleased. I don’t think this family has ever been normal. I don't remember much about life before then. Annabelle had a habit of kissing the ground he walked on and chasing him every time he went away. I’ll never forget the time I was twelve and had to take care of Ben who was only around three years old. She was gone an entire month only to return with daddy dearest on her arm. The day right after I suffered some serious bruising because Phillip felt it was necessary to hit a three year old and I told him to go screw himself.
In much fiercer words, of course.
Phillip was a loser, a dead beat, and I am pretty sure my mother was bipolar. I remember the way she used to manipulate the parents at school. Make them think we had a happy, perfect, life when in reality we didn't. Just because she was sexy everyone believed her. Otherwise no one would have believed her when I went to school in the fifth grade with a broken arm and she blamed it on a bike riding incident.
Whenever Phillip raised his hand he was cautious not to cause any injury that could result in a hospital visit. Too many hospital visits raised suspicion but there were few times where he’d lost his temper completely.
I was heaving, trying to suck up as much oxygen as I could, and I was tempted to jump out my open window and run into the night. But I couldn’t. Ben was here and I’d die before I let anything happen to my little brother. I couldn’t wait until Phillip decided to leave. Maybe he’d leave for good this time. I think he’s screaming at Annabelle, about what I don’t know, all I know is that this night can’t get any worse.
He tried to hit me. He tried to put his hands on me. I’m 16 years old I’m not a baby anymore. I was in every right to punch him in the face. Then mom got in the way, and in a trembling voice, tried to negotiate peace. All it got her was a bloody red hand print across her right cheek and that was where everything went wrong.
Because that’s where everything goes wrong! Someone says something, Phillip adopts a stank attitude, Mom tries kissing his ass, I get pissed, we start to fight and then boom! World War 3 in the Chance household.
I started junior year two weeks ago. I qualify for a job. I don’t need the appealing inheritance; I need to get Ben and me out of here. Ethan and Patty will help me and I could rent an apartment maybe in Manhattan, Upstate, or even a nice quiet place in Jersey. Any place that isn’t the Hamptons.
I’ll be free.
The way the house rocked to its core let me know that the front door was slammed shut and judging by the lights outside, Phillip was driving away. The house was finally silent. Carefully I removed my hands from my mouth and let out a deep sigh. My heart was still racing like a racecar and the anxiety was kicking in but at least everything was okay. I started to feel lightheaded and sick, a sign that I needed my iron pills and ASAP.
I hear a quiet whimper that grew closer with every second. I swallowed the rock lodged in my throat, squeezing my hands together in prayer that everything would go away. I just wanted everything to go away!
The sound of heels clicking against the marble floors of the hallway sent my pulse skyrocketing. The weight of my mother’s iron fist banged down on my bedroom door and I squeezed my eyes shut in an attempt to block out the noise. I thought of waterfalls and rainforests. My mother continued to bang on the door and I forced myself to breathe willing her with my mind to go away.
"It's your fault your father left!" She screams. "Why couldn't you just leave him alone?"
No! I wanted to yell. Why can’t he just leave us alone?
She yelled out in frustration, most likely because she could not open my door. I heard the loud thump as she hit the floor and it was silent for a moment afterwards. I remember sometimes when I was younger I’d open the door and hold her while she cried. But now I knew better. Nothing good comes from Annabelle Mable Chance.
"Why?" I heard her hysteric muffled cries through my door. "Why!"
I wanted to open my bedroom door grab her by the shoulders and shake her. I wanted to shake her so hard her brain rolled right out of her skull. I wanted to smack her in the face until she realized what she was doing to me.
What she was doing to us?
Didn’t she care? How could she love someone like that? How could she love a man that put her hands not just on her, but on her children? Annabelle was loaded. Her family has been loaded for generations! Why couldn’t she buy herself a nice house and fix herself up with a nice lawyer or a doctor, or for Christ sake the pharmacist at CVS!
Phillip won't be back again for a few weeks. I wish I could disappear as easily as he did. All I could do was pray and hope for the weekend to be over so I can go back to school. Where Mr. Andrews is, he'd make me feel safe in the creative writing classroom. He always did.
"Ben let's go."
With an iron grip I took Ben’s arm with one hand and held his book bag in the other. I ushered him to the front door and yanked his uniform sweater off the rack. I bent down and helped him put it on.
"When do you think he'll come back, huh? Do you have any idea how hard it was to get him back?" Annabelle sniffled as she walked toward us.
I yank the front door open and step out, throwing Ben in front of me. He was hugging his book bag and looked small compared to the grand front steps of the house.