• I cowered in my room waiting for the storm to blow over, desperately struggling to put on my fragile armor so I could face the chaos again. Going out of the door would be like facing a hundred rabid dogs, every bite a fatal blow to the spirit, threatening to make me surrender and to bring me down to the pits of despair.

    As ready as I’d ever been, I opened the door and stepped out of my haven of safety and into the rest of the house. The sound of flying objects had been replaced with the open sobs of my father. The man I once respected had faded to this terrifying mess. After my mother left, his kind voice had been replaced with a cold impassionate drawl. His warm eyes became as cold as an Antarctic blizzard. He was no longer the father I knew, but an imposter, filled with layers upon layers of anger and sadness; a madman searching to destroy everything as my mother leaving had destroyed him.

    Destroying all the objects that reminded him of my mother had been easy. Pieces of charred picture frames can still be found lying in the ashes of our small fireplace, relics of our once happy life, relics of my father’s life.

    Destroying me was going slower; mainly because I could fight back, I could escape to places my father couldn’t follow. Before my life had turned down this unfortunate path I never realized the sanctuary school could provide. The difficult studies forced me to think of things other than my bruised body and my wounded soul. It was not only a distraction, it gave me light and it gave me hope. One day I’d be able to get out of this dead end town and create a life for my self away from the sadness that had engulfed my family. This dream, this ideal, kept me going, kept me standing, it was my sun and water. That’s why it hurt so much.

    Friday night was about the only day there was no chance of meeting the shadow of the man I used to call Dad. Every Friday, he worked the night shift at the local seven-eleven and I was surprised when I saw him sitting on our awful thread bare couch. Glaring at the wall a look of determination on his face, when he beckoned me towards him. I felt the dread build up in my system; this wouldn’t be good. His expression was cold steel and so was his voice when he finally got around to talking. “Your 16 now” he growled “it’s about time you get a full time job”
    My war weakened fortress
    crumbled at his words, my last hope, my last pinpoint of light was gone. He wanted me to drop out of school. No wanted wasn’t the right word. He was ordering me to drop out. He’d finally lost his battle, that last little bit of self he had was gone; the madness had taken over. For the first time I felt like praying, begging, doing anything I could to make my mother come back and save me. But she wouldn’t come back and if I was her I wouldn’t have either.

    My supposed father may be lost but I am not, he would not stop me from getting an education. It was time to raise the forces. This was to be all out war. I will not go down without a fight; I will not surrender. Sitting on the living room couch, I gathered my courage. The effect he gave of when he entered the room was much like a tornado attacking a trailer park. The door slammed against frame, shaking our apartment and my composure. I couldn’t help but shrink in the overstuffed couch. Here it came, the war I’d been dreading.
    When he saw me sitting there he paused, his eyes boring into me like a scalding hot dagger. His glare both full of fire and ice at the same time, I knew I was in for it at that very instant he opened his mouth. With a furry he yelled “OUT!!!”

    Obviously he had figured out without my help that I wouldn’t drop out of school, he knew I defied him. I won, but at what cost? The shame overwhelmed me. I ignored his need, not even trying to help as my beloved Father slowly spiraled into insanity. My quest for victory only destroyed him further. What I had done was by far worse than anything he ever could have done to me. I had destroyed him, slowly but surly, by my ignorance and, by my arrogance. I was the only one in a position to help him and I stood by doing nothing and now the man I loved was gone; only an empty husk, a bag of bones controlled by anger, hate and madness.

    I’d let my fear overcome me, I thought I was brave but I was wrong. My actions screamed coward. Now I knew my mistakes I would get him help, even if it was to late. I had failed him once, now it was time to make it right.