Fear, I slept while he stood by my bed side. No one caressed me to sleep the way he did. He sang his lullaby “close your eyes, everything is alright.” I could’ve waked up, I could’ve done something, but I didn’t. The screaming grew louder; suffocating my ears with earplugs was of no help. I would have not known it by the way, was it really the screaming or my own conscience pacing back and forth mumbling “do something, stop him you coward. Ugh” My dad was an alcoholic and the stench of beer became something to wake up to, for this, inflicting my mom became a night time habit. I hated him enough I vowed to avenge every tear he caused my mom to shed, but things changed. Let us say when Athena helped Perseus, God helped the wearied. Although his chance of changing was of the distance of a feather from the moon, the sudden twist of heart went against all odd.
They say impossible is not a word and they weren’t kidding. Like every other relationships, my parents at first sight cherished one another. She then became obligated to him when she uttered “I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” Things altered after those words came out. My dad became a heavy drinker, the commercials of Vailima on television was a gratifying image. It started to transition further, they would have “room” arguments where things where kept at the down low. It then became a dinner-table argument where words of strife were exchange amongst me and my siblings. On another morning, I would see a bruise or two.
Things were getting out of hand. Then the worst happened, he started cussing for pleasure and purple marks on my mom’s body numbered increasingly as the days went by. On worst nights, the sudden pound to open the door became our cue that we were to be his next victims, as if he was saying to get dress for the celebration of our lives. In the mornings, he would find an excuse for us to stay home because the marks on our bodies were obviously his ticket to the penitentiary in Tafuna.
When school finishes, I would talk my teacher into writing a letter that I was excuse for tutoring. I feared him, coming home became a drag. Our family became a gossip in the village. I never really had any friends; their parents must have warned them about my dad. Because of my surroundings I was bound to trust no one and my instincts became picky. This is never going to go anywhere. Am I going to live like this for the rest of my life? When the arguments grew louder and the screaming never stopped, lives became perilous and some deity decided to end it.
I came home the other day seeing an uplifting countenance. I was not going to fall for it. It was just one of his mind games I told myself. Thanks to Hollywood for that misconception. “I met the missionaries and I am going to see them again tomorrow.” I felt like a hypocrite when I smiled and said “I’m happy for you.” The shouting grew less and eyes became dry. He started doing things we thought to be awkward, like preparing dinner, taking my mom out for a date, planting her favorite plants, leaving mushy notes, and so much more. He started opening up to us, he would cry when he recounts his mistakes and the apologizes came in like rushing waters. I sat in awe while I contemplate whether to cry with him, he was still that monster pounding on the door, but it was not him.
Although I was grateful for the improvement, I am never going to forgive the man who betrayed my mom’s skin, who scared my conscience, and who put peace to sleep. My dad ended his lifelong career of an alcoholic when he was baptized into the Mormon Church the year 2009. It not only changed the way he lived but it also slowly and obliquely changed the way I saw him. For once in my life I came to see him as a person to be trustworthy, to believe that he changed and his past actions were to learn from but not lived in. He became what he continues to be to my mom and began to kept his end of the bargain, and I am forever grateful for what happened to him. He became my friend and my solace with all the good tidings and discouragements exchanged. For once in my life, he became himself, my dad. When the question of possibility and defying gravity came into the picture, I was grateful and I was happy that although its distance, my feather finally reached the Moon.