I hardly even knew what to say to this monster in front of me. He had taken everything from me, even my memories of the man I had known. It was all tainted now.
He was the only one I thought would stand by me, the one I thought would forgive me all my transgressions. After all, he was the one that carried me on his shoulders and lifted me above all of the pain below.
He was there when mother died, crying softly into my hair as he held me beside her grave. He had held my hand as the pastor droned on about a woman he had never met, tears rolling down faces that had never known her smile. My little fingers digging into his palm. His sad smile and mumbled thanks was the only thing that kept me from hating them.
He was the first smile I saw in the mornings and the last touch at night. The only friend I needed, as we pranced around the living room, pretending to be anything else. I could even forget the cruelty of the children and the loneliness that came along with it singing along to the radio on the drive home.
I remember being scooped up by strong hands the first time I fell and broke, I couldn’t have been more than 6. We drew pictures on my cast and he took me to the ocean. I even got to swim, the heavy arm held above my head in the waves. He was there every time I fell, telling me it was just another fact of life. Osteogenisisimperfecta wasn’t a punishment from above, it was an obstacle to overcome.
I had hoped he would celebrate with me when I found someone worthy of his little girl. I remember dreaming of him walking me down the aisle, our father-daughter dance, the quiver in his voice as he toasted my happiness.
My eyes welled with tears as I asked him “Why dad? Why are you saying these horrible things?”
He turned on me then, his face contorted. I couldn’t see anything but disgust in his eyes. He was a like rabid dog, just another old man clinging to his religion like a frightened child.
“How in damnation could you do this to me you little slut! I loved you with everything I had, I raised you as best I could after your mother was gone. I taught you the good book, Didn’t I! Didn’t I! You were never much to be proud of but I never thought you could be this. You and your little succubus bitch, lying to me all these years. Why couldn’t you just be NORMAL!”
Blackness rises up to meet me, far away I can hear someone screaming.
I jerk upright on the bed, a horse scream dying in my throat. Bood deafening me as it rushes through my ears. I yelp when a hand touches my shoulder, “Are you ok?’, her voice sounds small and afraid.
“Ye, yea. No, I’m fine, Really I’m fine.” I shy away from her, getting up so fast it makes my head spin. “I’m just gonna…” the words die on my lips as I rush into the bathroom.
I stare into the mirror, cold water dripping from my face salty now with tears. My hand stifling sobs, I hope she doesn’t hear over the rushing of water in the sink, it was just a dream.
I know it was all in my head, reality slowly creeps back in and I can’t stop the tears. I tell myself it was in my head, I hear her, calling out to me. Maybe I’m the real coward, I don’t have the strength to tell her my worst nightmare is her reality.