Just so there is no misunderstanding. This was my life. My life, that is, a hundred years ago; or so, it seemed.
My dad was always angry and I never really could figure it out. One minute he would be deep in thought and then he would just burst into a tirade. Could it be that I had disappointed him somewhere along the way? Or, could it be that I was a girl, and we all knew he favored his sons.
I remember when I was little I was his favorite. We had family pizza night every Thursday night and this was the night that I had just a few minutes with my dad; just him and me. He’d yell from the kitchen, “Come on Susie. We have to leave now if we want to have Pizza tonight.” And, at that very moment just like every other week, I’d throw my Barbie doll on the bed, watch her bounce as if she were on a trampoline, and run into my daddy’s arms. I believe at that moment in time he loved me the most but he soon grew out of me.
I guess I was growing up too fast, or maybe he just preferred sports over music, but no matter what the reason was I had become invisible to him.
When I was 14 his anger had manifested itself into something unmanageable. My mom seemed very bitter and was often away from home. One night I thought I saw her take a pill and then she slept for days. The children marched into her room every day and talked to her as she starred blindly into space. This was supposed to help her wake up, he told us. At first, it did nothing but after a few days she began drinking water and tears trickled down her cheeks. It was during this time that my dad began yelling and criticizing me more and more.
When I decided to quit a job working at a construction site because I was subjected to cat calls every day, he badgered me even more. “I knew you wouldn’t last. You’ll never amount to anything!”
And even though I was a quiet girl he would yell, “Why can’t you be like your sister? She never talks back. You need to learn some respect!”
It was only when the local Sherriff drove up in our driveway one afternoon that I realized it wasn’t about me at all. The guilt and shame of adultery had been eating away at my parents for years. Like vultures eating away at a dead animal, he had nothing left inside. Now, he was at rock bottom. I saw him sink to the ground and weep as he looked at the papers.
Then as quickly as the Sherriff had backed out of the driveway and disappeared over the hill, he gathered himself up off of the ground, looked over at me with a sad smile and said, “Are you up for a pizza?”
Annette R Burrell