Memories run tacky, syrupy slow
Flowing like the buzz of a bee,
The buzz of home, the buzz of familiarity.
And then--there it is.
Out of the lukewarm trickle of moseying thoughts,
Out of the vague remembrances of smiles and places and tears and toys,
Floods in the first clear memory.
I am at home. I am in my living room.
I don't quite remember why.
It's late, it's dark, it's sleeping time.
I must have heard something that led me from my room.
And so I stand in that compact space, behind the couch, next to the wall, facing the front door.
Elation and joy and surprise. He's here, at home again.
He's been gone, absent, not where he should be.
I'm too young and naive and inexperienced to understand or wonder why.
But Dad's been gone, and now he's here, with me.
The door opens.
But my father does not come in.
Dependency, the Beast of Men, comes in.
Blinded by rage and burning with alcohol.
My mother and the then-boyfriend come to my aid
And push the Beast of Men out the door.
But he's outside, swearing and screaming and beating.
Beating like an unholy battering ram.
I don't remember much else.
Fear and confusion and--
The police come and take him away for a year and a half.
I remember a musty court room.
"Every child deserves to know their father."
I then realize this is about me.
I don't remember what I felt.
I was so young.
He's overly kind.
He never drinks.
He loves me endlessy.
But we don't talk, not really.
Mild, brainless chatter.
I love him.
He's my father.
But we're not close.
This isn't the end of the poem.
Because second chances are plenty,
And the phone a foot away.
And while this is difficult, and awkward, and sometimes painful,
This is only the beginning.