Yanked by my shirt, dad tore me from the cupboard. I did not see a sword, so it meant father just wanted to beat on me. I deflected the first punch with my arms. He leaned toward me as he drew back his dominant hand for a hook. Connecting that hit would mean lights out for me. One hairy punch would end the fight with little damage, still I ducked.
I am 5’10” tall at 15. My father is 6’5″ with arms the size of most men’s thighs. Our fights are not fair. My life is not fair. I do the best I can.
I jumped back from his left front kick, but hit the back wall. The overextended kick still landed. My right jab hit his nose. I sidestepped toward the door. I hoped to make the door before his vision returned.
He blindly rushed me for a tackle. I drew my knee up spearing his jewels on impact. Contact took the air out of me, but he hurt worse. This close I could smell the liquor on him. I pushed him away when I noticed his pain. He landed on his knees and looked up at me.
“Your a bastard, and your whore of a mo–” he squeaked.
My right cross knocked him unconscious, blood oozing from his busted lip.
Who’s the bastard now? I thought.
My earliest memories are fighting. I fought my father. I watch my father beat, bruise, and break my mother. I watch my father fight strangers at the bar. At eleven my mother died. I know my father’s viciousness. I don’t consider her death a mystery but everyone in town does.
I checked the mirror for bruises or blood, then I went to what started the fight: his treasure. I rummaged through the gold coins. The amount of gold in the chest amazed me.
He is rich and we live like paupers! I thought angrily.
Numb, I could not think. I could not decide what this new revelation meant, or what I should do. I put the chest back and traveled to the place I do the best thinking: the bar.
As I walked to the bar I thought of how I started working there three years ago. It is one of the few times my father’s constant fighting caused some good. I fantasized many times about the owner being my real father. We talked about how wine and beer is made. He showed me a book once on the whole process. The book must have cost him a fortune. He let me look at the book unsupervised.
The bar is a five minute walk from our house. Dad liked living close to liquor. As I walk in I see three foreigners. One is a dwarf! I assume a warrior from dad’s teachings. The scarred human with all the pouches would be the wizard. Leathers meant the other human is either a thief or a ranger. They looked familiar to me.
My memory synced. I knew father’s tales of his adventuring party. I moved closer to hear what they are saying.
“Lux’s house has got to be around here.” Said the ranger.
They are talking about dad. I thought.
“Crush some skulls, and they’ll talk I say.” Grunted the dwarf.
“My spell might work if he’s close enough.” The wizard said.
“I want’s me part of the treasure, even if I have to take it out of his hide!” Exclaimed the dwarf.
Dad stole their treasure. It dawned on me.
I attempted to draw no attention as I left the bar, but the owner spotted me.
“Rellik you gonna work tonight?” He questioned.
“Naw I’m not feel’n well.” I responded.
“Ok, hope you feel better.” He said with a concerned look.
“Thanks.” I said as I left the bar.
I noticed the adventures still talking amongst themselves as I left. I ran to warn father. While running my mind kept asking why.
Why should I help him?
What do I owe him?
Why should they get the money?
Why not let him die, he killed my mother.
My pace slowed as I neared the house. Father did not stay down for long. I lost track of time while at the bar.
How much time passed? I could not remember.
I peered into the house checking to see if he is still sleeping. He looked exactly as I left him. I creeped through the house for the treasure chest. I will not limp away empty handed.
This is my chance. I thought.
I could live out my days on a farm I bought with this money. After I stole the chest I strapped it to a horse in the barn. Guilt seeped into me as I led the horse away from my home.
They would find him helpless.
My father never did a selfless act in his life. My mind struggled with leaving him to die. My father feared helplessness. I know the worst end he could imagine is to be slaughtered like some farm animal. So I tied up the horse, and ran back.
The group found the house. I could see them looking from the edge of the forest, just outside the clearing to our house. I circled to the back. I pulled my bow, and shot. The arrow hit the shutters on the back window with a loud thunk. I could see dad moving inside the house. I positioned myself for a better view of what was about to transpire.
The adventures walked up, and the dwarf found the door locked. The wizard began moving his hand, then threw dust in the air. He put his fist through the cloud. A wagon wheel size opaque fist hit the door, and blew it off it’s hinges. As soon as the door disappeared, my father’s arrow head exploded blood from the back of the Wizard’s neck. His death mask a frozen smirk.
The ranger returned fire so quickly I never saw him pull off his bow. The dwarf rolled out of the doorway and drew his hammer. It seemed practiced somehow.
“Lux throw me gold out and you don’t get smash’d.” Yelled the dwarf.
I did not hear a response.
The dwarf picked up a board beside the house as a makeshift shield. They nodded to each other. Simultaneously the dwarf rushed through the door as the ranger fired arrows through the front window.
I could hear fighting inside. The ranger drew his swords and joined the fray. Several minutes later the ranger stumbled back outside, his chest soaked in blood. The ranger looked pale even from here. He sat down outside the house and looked at the stars. The dwarf followed him with his right arm and leg bandaged. The dwarf looked at the ranger’s wound, shook his head, and went back inside to rummage around the house.
The ranger gazed around. He stared toward me. I felt he could see me somehow. He smiled, slumped, and died. My stupor broken I ran to my horse.
I rode for several weeks toward wine country. I only spent modestly. I did not want to draw attention to myself. After I started seeing grape fields I relaxed. My dream to make wine filling my head.
Before I entered the inn’s barn, I saw a woman washing her hair. Her beautiful hair allured me. I figured her a barmaid.
“Barmaid, are their any vineyards for sale ‘n this area?” I asked.
“I’m no barmaid!” She seemed insulted.
“I’m sorry, do ya know about anything fer sale?” I prompted again.
She relaxed saying “There is one in town, but I wouldn’t buy it.”
Intrigued I asked, “Why’s that?”
“Old man smith ran the place in the ground.” She said matter of factly.
Attracted, I responded, “Well, which one would ya suggest?”
“Brown’s place about 10 miles from here. It’s been taken care of, and it’s at a good price.” She stated businesslike.
“Well thank ye, would ya mind if I bought ya dinner as payment for this valuable information?” I said.
Her cheeks turned bright red. Her gaze dropped to the floor. Timidly she responded. “If you like.”
Her response excited me in ways I can not even explain. I knew this golden hair girl would be mine.
Over the course of the next week I bought the Brown’s vineyard, and we talked repeatedly. She is knowledgeable about the process of producing wine. We married before long.
My life is now as I dreamed it, all those years ago. I captured what I always wanted. Sadly the violence is still inside my head. My father is not truly gone from my life. Daily, I control the frustration and anger lest they consume me.
I promise myself I will never lay a hand on my wife or child as my father did. If I can provide nothing else for them, this I guarantee. I am not my father.
According to Engel, “in the past twenty-five years studies on abuse and family assaults strongly suggest that abused children become abusers themselves,” yet victims often don’t receive any treatment until their repetition of the abuse is already underway.
Also check out Victoria Women’s Transition House. The link is to a list of the cycle of abuse. If your being abused, get the help you need.