It was July 21, 2003 I nine years old, just four days after my birthday. The sun was shining bright and cheerful, when my mom had told me she was going to be gone for a short while, because she had to run to the grocery store grab a couple of things for dinner. As she began to back out of the driveway, I ran to the window and watched her leave and then sat there anticipating her return while my dad had watched some television. About an hour and a half later we received a phone call that still sends shivers down my spine. I remember watching my father get up from his recliner and saunter towards the phone on the wall in the hallway, within just a few seconds of answering he had aged ten years. The phone dropped to the floor, and then I watched helplessly as my father dropped to his knees. Through tears he told me mommy wasn't coming home. I was so confused. "Why daddy?! Why?!" Panic had rushed through my body, and then I started crying as I ran to my father. When I went to hug him, he tensed. I looked into his eyes full of loss and sorrow. My own grief could not compare to his, I was too young to understand that mom was gone forever.
It has been 8 years since my mom had passed away, and sometimes I still sit by the window in hopes my mom will pull up and hug me. I sometimes pray she will, because then maybe my dad would not resent me for looking like my mother, and maybe he would stop drinking and care that I'm still here. That I'm still alive and hurting the same as him
I hate being home, and every time I am, all I want to do is escape everything, so I go to the bench in the park. It's right below a hill, somewhat secluded by trees. It's in a good place to watch people and think. I discovered it about two weeks after mom passed away, I was walking through the park feeling lonelier than ever and I just wanted to be alone. My eyes kept welling up with tears and I didn't want anyone to see me so weak so I began to run. I ran until my young lungs could not take it anymore, and when I stopped to catch my breath I looked up to see the bench. I walked over and sat down defeated and let my tears just fall. I had just lost my mom forever, and my dad was slipping away from me day by day as he drank more and more. The loss I had felt in just a short while took over every emotion I had, and I couldn't control them. For three months I would leave class crying. It was hard to hear people say that they understood what I was going through, but no one really could because no one knew that my dad had a drinking problem. No one knew that he blamed me for my mom's death, that he would never talk, and when he did all the words that left his mouth was cruel and hurtful; each word was filled with hate and loathing.
It's been eight years, and I have become good at hiding my depression. I have many friends at school, and one best friend, Stacey. But even she had no idea about my home life, I don't think that I will ever be able to tell her either. I have never fully let anyone in, I don't want to put my baggage on anyone, and I am not looking for pity. The saying "what happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors," is my life's story. Faking happy for the world has gotten easier as I get older, but sometimes I cannot fake happy.
Whenever I want to be alone, I'd leave my cell phone at home and walk to the park. Most days I would do a couple of laps walking the path around the pond, and then I would start off for my bench. Today though, dad had drank a lot. When I brought my math test home with a seventy-five he slapped me across the face. He had never struck me before, and when he did he hit me so hard I fell to the floor. I grabbed my cheek and started crying again as I thought about the scary scene that had occurred just moments ago. I could remember all of his dark words "You're stupid!" He screamed. "You will never amount to anything. You think someone will want to marry a girl who is satisfactory?!" But he did not stop there, his words were not hurtful enough. "Your mom would be disappointed in you, are you going to throw your life away for something as idiotic as a fucking party?!" I started crying harder "Daddy, I'm sorry. I will do better. I promise! I don't party, I'm always home studying." At that point he had stopped listening and staggered to the den where he had begun to down another bottle of rum.
After he polished off his first bottle, I took a few breaths and got myself together then grabbed my sweater and walked quickly to the park. My face still burned from where my dad had slapped me, I'm pretty sure it might leave a slight bruise. I skipped doing laps around the pond and headed straight for my spot. I sat by the arm and pulled my knees up to my chest and buried my face and began to cry. My body was shaking and my mascara was running down my face. My face hurt, and my heart hurt. The scene with my dad kept replaying through my head making me cry even harder. I began to hear footsteps that sounded like they were walking towards me; I stopped crying and quickly wiped my face with my sweater sleeves. When I looked up I saw a young man approaching me who looked about nineteen. He had light brown hair that was short and slightly spiked. He wore a lip ring on his right lip and he had dazzling blue-green eyes. He was about six feet and had an athletic build from what I could tell. "Are you okay?" he asked with a lower pitch voice. "Y-yeah." I reply stuttering as I look down to my hands resting on my knees.
"I heard you crying when I was walking by." He said trailing off as he looked down at his feet. Oh great, now I've got a pity committee I thought to myself annoyed. "Well I'm perfectly fine." I spat out. I felt kind of bad for being so rude, but I did not want anyone's pity.
"Well fine! I just seen a pretty girl crying and thought to be a caring person and see if she was okay. Sorry to intrude on your alone time." you could tell he was frustrated about my rudeness. Softening up I quickly called to him while he was turning to leave "I'm sorry." I paused embarrassed, "it's just that I don't like people pitying me. I have issues that I don't want people knowing about."
He turned to face me, "My name's Josh, and I was not plan on giving you my pity or looking to hear about your problems. Just wanted to make sure you weren't going to off yourself or anything." He said with a slight laugh. Smiling at his smart ass remark I replied "My name is Drea. Glad we could get that over with." "Want to go for a walk with me; I was just heading for Big Rock." I looked to him and could only see sincerity.
For just meeting this Josh guy, he was very forward, but I wanted to get my mind away from the horror scene with my dad so I agreed. Within a few hours of hanging out with Josh I found out he had two siblings; both younger than him and both girls. His sister Bethany was twelve and his other sister Anastasia was eight. He was eighteen and in his last year of high school. His father walked out on his mom, Bethany and him when he was six. When he was eight his mother remarried a man named Stan. His smile faltered for a few moments when he mentioned Stan. It seemed a touchy subject so I didn't ask about him, I could tell that there were things that Josh did not want others knowing. In return I told Josh about my mom passing away, and how I sat by the window waiting and getting the dreaded call. I even told him my dad still hasn't gotten over it, but I leave out the alcoholism and the abuse. Josh and I were walking in silence when he had suddenly stopped and turned to look at me.
"This may seem very forward, but you seem as broken as I am." I stopped walking too; his sentence took me by complete surprise. "I don't mean it in a rude way or anything, I just," he started fumbling for the right words. "I'm sorry, forget I said that." He began to rub the back of his neck looking nervous.
"No, it's okay. You're right." We were standing about two feet away from each other searching for something to understand what the other was thinking. I had suddenly noticed it was getting dark as the cool October air embraced me sending a chill up my spine. "I'm sorry Josh, but I have to go." I turned to leave and he grabbed my hand. "Can I get your number before you go?" Reaching for my phone I realized that I had left it on my nightstand. "Yeah, but you'll have to text it with your name, because I left mine at home."
After giving him my number I rushed home. On my way back I thought about it, I could not really describe it as my home, I feel like the feeling of home died when my mom did. My house feels like prison, and my dad is the watch guard. When I get in the door I let out a sigh of relief when I see my dad passed out. God only knows what bottle number that is. I creep up the stairs to my room and jump on my bed as I grab my phone off my nightstand. I unlock it to find six messages. Three from Stacey asking how my day was, and why I am not replying. I send a quick reply saying I went for a walk and forgot my phone. One from my dad telling me to get the fuck home, I am definitely going to be yelled at in the morning, unless of course he is not up before I leave to work or even if he even remembers that I was out late. One message is from my friend Tim wondering if I am going to the dance next Friday, I also give him a quick reply saying if I have the money for a ticket, which I probably won't. The last message is from Josh Pierce. When I read his name I smile. I reply saying thanks for the walk and that it was great having someone to talk to. From that night on, I would spend a lot of time getting to know the boy with a million secrets.