Drifting absently through a void, separating my adolescence from my truth.
Fear snaps me out of my reverie.
Reality sets in, contributing the familiar smell of alcohol on his breath through an unsuspecting restaurant, not yet open for lunch.
I try to find my father in his eyes, but he’s been swallowed by the black holes that replaced his pupils.
Inebriation numbs his face in a permanent vacancy.
I watch him try to learn how to use his hands as he stumbles and falls off his stool.
I watch the realization of his betrayal stab my brother in the heart.
He knows I’ve called for help.
He slurs together what he thinks is a sentence,
Begging me to stay.
Begging me to let him take the wheel.
Begging me to sacrifice our lives for his disease.
His disgust hits me like a hand across my face, as I watch him walk out the door, abandoning his children.
I realize that I mean nothing.
The feeling of neglect rang in my ears, louder than the police sirens.
A year passes.
The therapist looks at us, defeated.
My other cheek stings with the comprehension that I have nowhere left to turn.
My father can’t even look at me through the wall of lies he’s built between us.
I can’t surpass the wall.
I’ve forgiven more than I ever should have.
I ask him, as I have before, if he had to choose between alcohol and his children,
Would he give up drinking?
I hope, this time for an answer.
Silence outweighs the oxygen in the room.
A year of deception and pain flashes before my eyes.
One apathetic syllable rips my heart out of my chest.
I again realize that I mean nothing.
His disgust hits me like a hand across my face, as he watches me walk out the door, abandoning my father.