“You’re gonna take care of dad, right?” she asked me before heading out.
“He’s been an asshole since mom died, I know, but throughout the years, I was the one who protected you. I saved you from his mistakes, but without me, will you be alright?”
“Yeah, I will, don’t worry about me. Go off to college and have fun!”
“My campus is an hour away, so if you need anything, you’re always welcome.”
She grabbed her bags and suitcases. After that, she loaded them in her car and slammed her trunk, her items barely fitting. Rebecca turned around and gave me a big hug, squeezing me tight.
“I’ll miss you, Brooklynn!”
“I’ll miss you too, Rebecca.”
She let go of me and wiped my tears away. I waved goodbye and she got in her car, pulling out of our lives. If only I could’ve told her no that I wasn’t going to be alright by myself with him. I didn’t want to look like a wimp, so I said yes even though I knew I couldn’t. I wonder what would’ve happened if I said no to her.
I walked back inside the house, the smell of booze and rum intoxicating my nostrils. I called out my father’s name, hoping that he would answer.
“Dad! Come help me with these bottles!”
Obviously, he didn’t answer. I’m guessing he was passed out on his bed from all of the drinking. I groaned and walked over to the coffee table. I picked up the bottles of beer and held them in my arms. When I was done collecting all of the seven bottles, I threw them in the recycling bin. My father was more of an alcoholic than a drug addict even though he did both. He said it was too risky trying to find drugs and everything he finds is so expensive. Rebecca and I tried to get him to stop, but he wouldn’t.
I plopped down on the couch and laid there for a while, thinking about ways to get through these two years without any problems. How am I going to get through junior and senior year? Tomorrow was supposed to be the first day of school, but honestly, I’m not ready. I already know that I want to be in the medical field, but I can’t seem to choose what school to go to. I’ve already got multiple recommendations, but I have no idea what to select.
Throughout the day, my father was passed out in his room while I stayed productive and cleaned the entire house. I know that sooner or later, the house will end up filthy again because of my dad, but I don’t want it to get worse. Later that night, I watched American Horror Story, my favorite TV show, as a cleaning celebration. A sudden crash from upstairs frightened me. I quickly stood up from the couch and paused the episode. In fear, I slowly walked towards the stairs. My father came stumbling out of his room, his hair in a mess and his shirt button opened. I sighed in relief, thankful it wasn’t something to worry about. Just my father being stupid.
“Dad, are you serious? Don’t tell me that you’ve been drinking more bottles up there.”
“Shut up, Rebecca!”
“You’re so intoxicated that you can’t even tell which daughter is which.”
“You both look and sound the same, so I don’t know what you want me to do.”
He steadily stepped down the stairs and ambled towards the fridge. He started searching through it, obviously for another beer bottle.
“Dad, Rebecca already left for college, so it’s just you and me now.”
“What do you want me to do about that?”
“I’m just telling you that one of your daughters left for good, that’s all.”
“That’s all you wanted to tell me?”
“Yes, it is.”
He slammed the fridge door and scowled at me. What could he possibly be upset about? My father stomped towards my direction and grabbed me up by my neck, pulling me off the ground. His grip got firmer as my throat started to collapse.
“Where’s my beer?” he shouted.
“You took them, huh? You and your sister always tried to keep them away from me, so I know you have them. Where did you put them?”
“I-I don’t have them,” I replied, losing my breath.
“Liar! You’re not slick! I will kill you if you don’t tell me!”
“T-There upstairs in your room. Y-You put them there, so it would be closer to you, r-remember?”
He kept glaring at me with disbelief. I closed my eyes as I slowly started suffocating. Finally, my father dropped me to the floor and stumbled up the stairs. I stroked my neck as the pain started to disappear.
See, this is what I have to go through. I’ve been dealing with this for years, but I’ve always had Rebecca by my side. He would always bully me, but Rebecca was there to stop him. I’m weak and I can’t even protect myself. I should’ve told her the truth that I’m not strong enough to defend myself. Maybe, just maybe she would’ve stayed, but I can’t hold her back. She wants to have a successful career, meet new people, and get a degree in criminal law. She said she was doing this for us and when she was done, she would come back for me.
When mom died, Rebecca and I inherited five thousand dollars each. My sister used some of her money on her college. I’d rather not waste that money if I tell her how I really feel.
I gradually walked up the stairs in fear. Past my father’s bedroom, I saw him sipping his bottle of bear while laying on his bed, watching TV. His room was covered in empty bottles. My father’s grimaced look impaled my body. I quickly hurried past his room and went down the hall. I entered the bathroom and quietly closed the door. I sighed in relief and sat on the toilet seat.
Pain, that’s all I feel. My father is willful and never cares about his daughters. This is the first time he actually tried to kill me. I could see it in his eyes that he wasn’t lying. If I didn’t tell him where the bottles were, I would be dead on the floor right now. Tears soaked my face. It was like my life was getting worse and worse every time I was around him. The man I call “father”, but he never acted like one.
An hour later, I walked out of the room. I made sure that my eyes weren’t watery or red, so my father wouldn’t ask me anything. While I was walking through the hallway, I kept my head down. His bedroom door was still open and I didn’t even want to look at him. He’s caused so much suffering and agony to me, that I don’t even want to be in this house anymore. Rebecca, mom, please save me from this hell hole.
I grabbed my bag from my bedroom. It was a coffee brown, small backpack with the letter “B” imprinted on it. My parents bought it for me on my tenth birthday. When it became night, Rebecca would sneak into my bedroom and place envelopes in the bag. In the morning, I would check inside it and read her little notes. They would lighten my day.
Before I left, I looked inside the backpack and saw one small piece of paper. Weird, it’s almost five o’clock in the evening. Did Rebecca give me another note before she went to her university? I opened the envelope and read her cursive handwriting.
It wrote, “Hey Brooklynn! I know that I’m about to leave soon, but I want to write you one more note before I won’t be able to afterwards. Just know that I’ll always be here for you. My university is only an hour away. Come visit me if there are any problems or if you want to say hi. If you do just want to say hi, let me know. I have a lot of work now and I don’t want you showing up if you don’t have anything else to say. We all know how dad is. Honestly, I don’t want to leave you here with him. I’m scared that he might harm you to the point where you can’t move, talk, hear, see. Y’know what, there’s a lot of stuff, okay? Anyways, I wanted you to come with me, but I know that wouldn’t be possible. Just know that mom is standing right by you and will always be there for you. I really don’t know what to say because I feel like I’m gonna tell you off tomorrow, so see ya! Oh yeah, I made you grilled cheese. Cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, and gouda all in one. Placed on the stove and the bread crispy like a s’more. We call it 4 Combo Grilled Cheese. I know, I’m creative! Now, I've got to head to bed. I don’t know if you’ll read this in the morning, but make sure to read it that day. Love you with all my heart, Rebecca!” Her red lipstick was marked on the letter. I left the note on my bed and placed my wallet, earbuds, and phone inside. I hurried up and placed my brown ankle boots over my blue jeans. After that, I rushed out of the house without saying goodbye.
I didn’t know where to go. I’ve pretty much lost my mind. Why would I leave if I didn’t have a clue what to do? I’ve endured so much pain that I can’t take it anymore. Leaving was obviously the best idea, but there’s no one I can turn to. My father’s grandparents live in England and my mother’s grandparents passed away a long time ago. I don’t know if I should go visit Rebecca. She said to come to her for problems, but I hate the idea of popping out of nowhere.
I headed towards the park, the only place where I felt really safe. I sat down on the nearest bench and placed my earbuds into my ears, the cord being plugged into my phone. I listened to WILLOW while I watched kids play on the playground and dogs running through the field. Out of nowhere, a dog darted towards me and fell into my lap. The end of its body hung on the other side of the bench while its head laid on my legs.
“H-Hello!” I greeted, petting the top of its fluffy head.
“Alena, what did I tell you about messing with strangers,” an anonymous voice shouted. “I know you’re friendly, but this is getting out of hand.”
A boy walked up towards me, holding a blue leash in his hand. He had curly, light brown hair and coffee brown eyes. He wore a jean jacket over his shirt. I don’t know why since it was literally summer. Shouldn’t he be burning up in that thing? Honestly, I don’t know why I’m talking. I’m wearing boots right now.
“Sorry about that.”
“It’s alright, don’t worry.” Alena stood up and ran away. The boy sat next to me and I looked away, trying to not make eye contact. This is a stranger! I don’t feel like talking to him even though he has a dog and being really polite. I put my earbuds back in my ears and kept listening to music.
“Um…I really like your shirt.”
“Huh?” I questioned him, turning back around.
“Your shirt, I like it. It seems you really like Clairo since you have her album Sling on it.”
“Y-Yeah, I do.”
“She is such a great singer with her soft, intimate vocals. When I was going through depression, I would always listen to her. There was always one song that I would listen to on repeat, Bubble Gum. I don’t know why.”
“Yeah, she really is amazing. The thing I love the most is how she alternates guitar and keyboard in her songs. Her daydreamy atmosphere and rumination just makes her music even better.”
“Hey, what are you doing here by yourself in the park? I wouldn’t just want to go here to listen to music.”
“I…wanted to get away from my house.”
“Yeah, you could say that.” We sat there in silence for a little while. I hated to talk about my father to other people. Maybe talking about something else is the best idea. “Hey, what kind of dog is Alena?”
“She’s half husky, half german shepherd.”
“That must mean that she’s a handful.”
“Yeah, she sure is. Alena can be really sweet sometimes, especially to strangers, but I feel like being too polite might get her hurt one day.”
“I understand what you mean.”
He smiled and stood up from the bench. “I’m gonna get Alena and head home. Thanks for talking to me…”
“Brooklynn, my name is Brooklynn.”
“Nice to meet you Brooklynn. I’m Lucas by the way.” He placed the collar around Alena’s neck and waved goodbye. It was nice talking to someone for once who wasn’t my sister. I feel like I’m not gonna see him anytime soon.
I walked home when it got around six o’clock. It took me only thirty minutes to get there, so I wasn’t tired by the time I made it home.
“Dad!” I called out to him. Once again, no answer. I didn’t really care for him anymore. He could go ahead and get drunk. That’s not my business. Honesty, if he dies tomorrow, I wouldn’t mourn.
I cooked myself chicken strips and mac & cheese. You could never get tired of that. I didn’t feel like cooking anything special, so I guess that’s gonna be my dinner. After I ate, I sat up in my room, drinking a cup of sweet tea while reading some books online.
When it became late, my father would be madder than ever. He would slam my door open and in the middle of the night, he would choke me ‘till I couldn’t breathe. I tried locking my door, but one time, he got an axe and started chomping the door down. I had to use my own money to get a new one. Now to calm me down, I would listen to 1980 soul music. One of my favorite songs is “Early In The Morning” by The Gap Band. If he tried knocking my door down again, I would have a knife right next to my bed just in case. This time, he didn’t even come in. That’s how knocked out he really was. I headed off to bed, feeling relaxed knowing that my father wouldn’t bust into my bedroom.
The next morning was the first day of school. Was I ready for it? Absolutely not. Especially when I literally have no friends. They think I’m some kind of psychopath. When I say my father ruined my life, he ruined my life. I lost my social skills because of him. I sit in the back of the classroom and say nothing. When we have group projects, I do the work, but I barely talk to anyone. At lunch, I sit by myself. Honestly, I don’t care. They can think how they want all they like. They obviously don’t know what’s going on at home and I don’t even want to tell them.
After I was dressed and ready to go, I fixed myself breakfast. Not really, all I did was warm up Rebecca’s grilled cheese sandwiches in the oven. I ate two out of the four. I had the parmesan-crusted and apple & gouda grilled cheese. They were both very delicious. My father showed up once down the stairs. He walked into the kitchen to get another beer out of the fridge and went back upstairs, without saying a word to me. Last night, he threw a bunch of bottles into the fridge that were in his bedroom. I have no idea what he’s trying to do, but honestly, I don’t care.
When I was finished, the bus showed up in front of my house. I moseyed my way out the door and hurried inside the vehicle. The bus was really packed and I was barely able to find a seat. There was one right in the middle. In the back, that’s where the students smoke and get high. In front are all the nerds and goody-two shoes. The middle people are the ones where they don’t give a damn and just want the day to finish already. Of course, I’m obviously in that category. Our bus driver is not the talkative type. She doesn’t even care about the kids in the back. The kids that sit by her try to have a conversation, but all she does is ignore them.
When we made it to the school, all the kids got off the bus and made our way inside the building. Great, another horrible day here. And of course, it’s the first day of school, so the teachers want us to introduce ourselves and do some kind of “fun” activities. You would think they would get the hint that no one really cares. I went to my locker and opened it, 1980s photos and my favorite artists inside. There were pictures of Rebecca and my mother inside as well.
As I was about to close my locker, a boy called out to me. “Hey Brooklynn!”
I faced his direction. The guy was across from me and his little boy gang was standing by him. He smiled and made a heart with his hands, trying to be funny. I knew he wasn’t being serious because his friends started laughing. I giggled along and pointed the middle finger at them all. They walked away and I headed towards my first class.
Inside, there were a few people sitting in their seats. There were more students starting to enter. My teacher stood up in the front and started writing their name on the whiteboard. I sat down in the back in my “usual” spot. I didn’t even realize who I was sitting next to.
“Hi Brooklynn!” Lucas sat to the left of me and waved, his smile beaming the entire room. He seemed happy to sit next to someone like me. My jaw dropped in disbelief. How is he in my class and goes to my exact school? What is he? A witch?
“What are you doing here?”
“I...go to this school?”
“I didn’t know we were the same age.”
“I didn’t know either. I thought you were like fourteen or something like that.”
“For your information, I’m sixteen.”
“I see that.”
“I wasn’t expecting you to be here. I thought you were in your twenties, you tree!”
“Nope, I’m the same age as you.”
The bell rang and class began. Mr. Robinson started talking and of course, his lectures were super boring. It was like he was one of those adults from Peanuts. Unneeded and his voice how a sound like a trombone. I was writing down my notes till a sudden balled up paper hit my desk. Yep, it came from the left. I glared at Liam and opened the paper. It was wrinkled and hard to see, especially with his small hand-writing. At least it was decent.
It wrote: “Brooklynn, are you mad at me?” Of course I’m mad at him! What does he expect? Me to just forgive him because he didn’t tell me that he was my age and we were going to be in the same school? I wrote back to him and after that, it just kept going on.
“Yes, I am mad at you. Mad that you never told me the truth.”
“We just met! Why would I suddenly tell you my age and where I go to school? I barely knew you at the time.”
“You’re saying we just met, but you were the first person to say something.”
“True, but still! I didn’t think we were going to see each other again.”
“The way you just greeted me this morning makes me think that you knew I would be here in this school and sitting in this same spot.”
“I was just trying to be nice, is that okay?”
“Brooklynn, Lucas, would you like to share with the class what you're writing?” Mr. Robinson shouted across the room. Great, just great! This is not how I wanted this day to go.
I grasped the note from Lucas’ desk and stood up from my chair. Opening the paper, I read aloud, “Mr. Robinson is an ass and his lessons are boring. There, that’s what I wrote, happy?”
“Brooklynn, principal’s office, now!” I threw the paper in the trash and headed out the classroom, everyone giving me the stares. Okay, I get it! I interrupted the class and yelled at the teacher, but what’s with the scowls?