In the car, I remember quickly why I ran for my life. Originally, it was my step grandfathers’ car; it was going to be a gift to my younger brother. He would never get it because my father would drive it to the ground first.
Outside the lime green paint was faded to an almost silver, rust holes in the floor meant you needed to watch where you stepped or you could potentially fall through. This would be bad if he parked the car before you went through, worse if the car is moving.
I would try… and fail to throw myself out that hole in the floor while on the freeway in the future. So when people say obesity kills, well I was a fat[ter] kid, so they are right, it killed my chance of a quick death. However, that is getting ahead of the story, today I am in the front seat, not the back where the hole is and we are just starting up again.
The car smells of cigarettes, the ashtray overflowing with butts and the burns in the upholstery and cloth headliner on the ceiling of the car give the distinct impression that my father is a heavy smoker. Not only is that the truth, but there are precious few times in my entire life that I saw the man without a cigarette in his hand. Thankfully, there are also precious few times in my entire life that I saw the man at all.
I sit silently next to him. He did not care that I ran, it was not a problem for him. No, it meant one less thing to worry about. I had never been free; he just did not need me at the time. Now I sit inches away from him. I glance over while fiddling with a tear in the upholstery. His silver and white hair is balding on the sides, he combs it over to hide at least the right side but it is still easily noticeable. The lines in his face, the crow’s feet, and the sagging skin, all give the impression that he is much older than he actually is or that he has had a very hard life.
Truthfully, he had.
He was a two-tour Vietnam vet. After his first wife, whom he beat and two children he abandoned he found my mother. She was the babysitter for his first two children.
Yes, I am a walking cliché.
He used Heroin very regularly, my mother did on occasion but it was mostly for him. On good days, this would mean he would be happy and play with us kids. On bad days, it meant my Mom was going to be getting hurt really badly. He hurt his back, curse of our family, back problems you see. Because of this, he lost his job and essentially the story of my father had come to a close.
Nevertheless, like all good horror movies, this did not mean that the hero had won. It only bought time; not even good time. Now he had come back to collect. Because he lost his job and was living off of his disability and severance package he had little to no money. Why he took us at first was a mystery since he was barely making it, but it became clear right away shortly there after.
Instantly my train of thoughts is disturbed as the car comes to a stop.
Hampton Court, we were home. Hampton Court made section 8 housing seem like lifestyles of the rich and famous. The apartment we lived in was two bedrooms; below us was a meth house. Next door other druggies that would come talk to my father. Cockroaches were everywhere to the point you did not want to use the bathroom at night. It would be the one and only time in my life I would have lice, but I would never be treated for it. Thankfully, it went away on its own after a year or so.
Across the way from our second story, corner apartment was Travis.
Travis and my father became great friends, similar taste in drugs as it were and Travis was a dealer, which meant that my father needed Travis. He had almost a year’s worth of trash lying on the floors, stacked to the ceiling. The smell made me gag just standing outside the door but it never bothered my father or Travis; they never even spoke about it. He would be instrumental in my future and determining my value.
Now the stage is set, you know all the characters you need to know.
My father unlocks the door and gestures me inside. I turn to watch him close and lock the door, the sound of the deadbolt swinging makes my stomach queasy and the ground seemingly move.
He says only two words to me ‘Sit down’
I quickly sit
He will not say anything to me again for a few hours. Nevertheless, I will not move the entire span of this time. I was home again.
His home; my nightmare
All the while, I just desperately pleaded with the voice in my head to wake up…