I awoke to the sound of shattered glass and an angry scream. Quickly, I jumped out of bed and blindly ran towards the light pouring out from the cracks of the door. “Stop!” I screamed. I was now standing witness to a scene, a nightmare I had dreamt of too often. There stood my father, holding his hand in a threatening grip around my mother’s arm as her face cringed in pain.
“Let her go! You’re hurting her!” I screamed.
“I’m just showing your mother something. Go back to bed,” he said sternly. Did he think I was an idiot? Did he think I was some ignorant child? I could see shards of broken glass in the other room, and I quickly inspected my mother from head to toe.
I ran towards him and began to pry his fastened fingers from her arm. I was not a child anymore; I was almost eighteen, and I would not let him lay another finger on my mother. My father batted me away with ease and flung her to the side. I ran over to meet her, feeling somewhat helpless. Once I made sure my mother was okay, I ran over to the washroom to fetch the broom. You can only imagine my surprise when I found myself gazing at a scared and helpless little girl who stared accusingly back at me in me in the mirror. I closed my eyes and woke up in my own bed, then quickly ran over to the mirror. Staring back was a matured girl with a tear-stained face and red puffy eyes—this was me.
As a child, I grew up in a household where fear and betrayal ran deep. My father, the man whose lap I lay on as a babe, promised me the world but instead taught me the true meaning of temptation and hate. For years I watched as he abused my mother both physically and mentally and, though I love him, I soon discovered that my trust in him was gradually slipping away. He frequently made my mother a promise of change and repentance, insisting that all he needed was a second chance. The first time, my mother stayed, even though they had never been married—not because she loved him or because she had no family, but because she thought she was doing what was best for me. A day would barely pass before the sound of forceful strikes and gut-wrenching cries echoed throughout the house once more.
The days began to drift together; it was a constant cycle. In the morning, my mother would drop me off at the bus stop while my father continued to sleep in his room. I dreaded returning home at the end of the day because I knew all too well what the evening would hold. When I returned home the door would be unlocked, so I would climb up the stairs and head towards the kitchen. “Hello, sweetie how was your day?” he’d call from the living room chair. “Come here and give me a hug and a kiss. Tell me about your day.” Oh I’ll tell you, I wished I could say. Today during my math lesson I thought about how you beat the crap out of my mother last night. I will never understand why he would expect me to come running into his arms after everything I’d seen him do. I was young, not blind or deaf. I dreaded the days he called me to his side; even now I continue to despise his ignorance.
Some days. when it was just my father and me in the house, I would become so overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, and loneliness that I would suddenly burst into tears. Most times, he would get upset because he just couldn’t get it through his head why I could possibly be crying. As I tried to explain to him the pain that he had put my mother through, he would not heed my words. To him, I was just a crying seven-year-old girl; the only thing I could convey to him was that I wanted my mother. Exasperated, he’d throw the phone towards me, “Fine, call your mother. You only love her anyway, she’s the only one you need, and you never say you love me.” After that, he, a grown man, would start a crying fit of his own in front of me. They were fake, of course, amateur sobs only meant to try to break the heart of a little girl. So I’d sit at the top of the stairs just waiting for the moment my mother would walk through the door.