After setting the table for dinner my mom and I sat and said a prayer quietly. The mumbling in the background was constant. “I don’t know why you don’t check my Facebook, you don’t give a shit about your own family. You’re not my daughter—you just like to go to the gym all the time. If you don’t stop then you’re just going to look like a man.” My mother let out a sigh and it was enough to make me react. “Dad, can you please stop? We just want to eat dinner in peace.” I asked, hopefully. “What am I doing?” I swear the look on his face was so deeply dark and his eyes were glossed over—maybe it was the drunkenness or The Monster inside him. “You’re complaining and Monique and I are just trying to have Christmas Eve dinner, can you please shut up?” Dad, huffed and popped open another cold one.
My mother looked at me as I played with my food—I wasn’t hungry anymore. Dad always loved to bring us down with him—if we were happy then it was time to make sure everyone felt like him. And my whole life I was taught that Satan wants us to be miserable like him, was my father like Satan? “I hate him.” I heard my my mother mumble under her breath.
Dinner was fantastic and my mother worked so hard putting together the Ham, Deviled Eggs and Sarmale(a Romanian dish) and I was furious for the way he was acting. And as usual I got up and washed the dishes and went to my room just before he opened his fifth beer. Tonight wasn’t going to be a good one. I sat on my floor picking up my scriptures—they were comforting. I loved the way that they made me feel when he brought me down.
“Get that fucking Mormon shit out of my house, I don’t want any of that shit in my house. You’re not a Mormon you’re Greek Orthodox. Mormons are just a cult and Joseph Smith can suck my…” I put my head phones on and before I knew it he was standing in front of me.
My dog Nephi jumped up in front of me—getting ready to protect me. And I knew right away that if my dog sensed aggression it was coming and he was right. Dad came at my face with a metal can opener telling me that all my religious things needed to be out of the house by tomorrow. My dog leaped and my dad went to hit Nephi. Quickly my mother leaped forward pushing him away from me. By this time I had dialed my brothers phone number and they could hear everything. Soon enough he had punched my mom and I had hung up and called 911—meeting them outside.
I packed up a bunch of cloths in a plastic bag and bravely walked into the living room where the Monster was sitting. “Where are you going? Get your ass back to your room.” He snapped. “I’m taking my trash out.” I took a deep breath as if awaiting approval—but my legs just kept moving. I was wearing my Nike shorts and a wife beater. Pretty soon the Police arrived questioning me. “He hit my mom.” I shouted. “Did he have any weapons?” The tall white police officer questioned “yes, a metal can opener from Europe. They are literally one pound at least and if he hit me in the head with it—no doubt I would need stitches
The Police had my report and made their way upstairs—I told them they could enter and I would go behind them but Dad had locked me out of the house in the cold. It was no big surprise but the Officers just knocked and I chuckled—trust me it was funny. Dad opens the door like a Rhino ready to trample a
poor vulnerable animal, little did he know it wouldn’t be me standing in front of him. Pretty soon they took him away—they didn’t let him near us. And my mother burst out in tears crying as she gave my sister-in-law a hug. “I couldn’t do it anymore.” she cried “I know mama, I know.” But the words rang through my head.
“You have the power to destroy this family Laura,” and “I’ll kill you if you ever leave me.” I was terrified he would kill my mother like he promised her.
I could only wonder…
Are we free, now?