A cool autumn breeze whisked past me as I softly shut the door behind me. I quickly ducked and crept past the front lawn as I made my way towards the small gate that enclosed the perimeter of the house. I held my breath as I heard something fall from inside the house. I quickly moved towards the house and pressed my back flat against the wall. The only sounds I could hear were those of my labored breathing and the sounds of cars as they drove by. I silently stood there hoping that he didn’t see me sneaking out.
The consequences would be intolerable.
I pushed my medium length raven hair behind my ear and stared up at the window that was directly above me. I let out a deep sigh of relief as I saw the light go out. He was going to sleep much earlier today.
Pushing myself off the wall, I once again ducked and made my way across the lawn. Quiet as a mouse, I lifted the lock to the gate. Glancing over my shoulder, I made sure the lights in the house were still off. Upon noticing that the coast was clear, I quickly rushed out. Shoving my hands in the pocket of my worn out hoodie, I began walking towards the park around the corner from where I lived. A small smile rested on my face as I walked towards the one place where I felt at peace. It was the one place where I could always gather my thoughts and clear my head. It was a safe haven in the dark world I lived in.
I soon made it to the park and took a seat on the small bench under the large Oak tree. It was nearing sundown and there were only a few people left in the park. I moved my legs on top of the bench and placed my chin on top of my knees. I let out a deep breath as I cocked my head to the side and stared ahead. To most people I must’ve looked odd.
A 19 year old sitting on a park bench alone as it was nearing dark. It wasn’t ideal being out here at this time, but I’ll take this over nothing. With the risks I took by even sneaking out, I was determined to enjoy whatever small amount of time I got out of the house.
I silently scoffed as I thought of my life. A young adult, hostage to a criminal, living right under the noses of oblivious neighbors who have yet to notice. I shuddered as I thought of the punishment I would receive if he ever caught me sneaking out, or trying to escape. There was no escaping him as long as he was alive. The connections he had were too strong. He would always end up finding me.
I bitterly chuckled.
My own father was the culprit.
Though we share the same blood, he will never be nothing more to me than dirt on the bottom of my shoe.
He wasn’t a father to me.
A father didn’t act the way that he did, a father didn’t do the things he did.
A father wouldn’t inflict pain on his own blood.
Except, he did exactly that.
I let out a deep sigh and leaned against the bench. As a strong gust of air whisked past me and I gently inhaled. Calmness washed over me in light waves as I slowly let my eyes shut. At times, the darkness felt more welcoming than facing the real world.
I sat there invested in my own little world when I heard a shriek. My eyes immediately snapped open as I observed my surroundings. I suddenly heard small footsteps coming in my direction and my eyes quickly landed on a small girl. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail and she wore a pink sundress. Laughter erupted from her as she ran past me towards the playground. A small smile rested on my face as I watched her run toward the playground and begin playing. Her smile radiated happiness and her innocence was displayed clearly. She was a reminder that the world wasn’t always a dark place.
The world itself wasn’t a dark nor dangerous place. The toxic people that lived there were the reason the world was a dangerous place.
I sat there lost in my thoughts when I suddenly heard a child crying. My eyes moved back towards the same girl who now laid on the ground. She held her knee to her chest as tears rolled down her cheeks.
I saw a man run up to her and kneel down next to her. I watched as he placed a kiss on her forehead and began examining her wound as she cried into his chest.
My eyes slowly wandered down to my arm. Gently lifting my sleeve, I examined the yellowing bruises next to the fresh purple ones. I lightly grazed my finger across the bruises as tears welled in my eyes. A sudden urge to cry hit me as I glanced up at the child and the man who I assume is her father. A smile now rested on her face as he picked her up and threw her up into the air. She shook with laughter as he smothered her with kisses, her wound now forgotten. I tore my gaze away from the child and her father and stared ahead at darkening sky.
Pushing back the tears that threatened to fall, I pulled my sleeve back down.
I refused to cry. I had wasted enough tears.
I had accepted the fact that not all people had the chance to live the life they wanted.
And that was just the way things were.
As the air grew chillier and the stars began to illuminate the sky, I knew I had to leave. Pushing myself off the bench, I pushed my hair back behind my ear and stood up. Stuffing my hands into my sweatshirt, I began my lonely walk back to a place I wished I could call home.
I slightly shook my head to myself.
It would never be my home.