Fighting Chance, An Excerpt
By S.K. Brandon
My girlfriend Lesley smiled up at me. “I was wondering when I get to meet your parents,” she said. “Is it your mom and dad? Or?” she asked curiously. I really didn’t like people asking about my family.
“I was raised by two dads,” I informed her, closing my eyes as I tried to not remember my pop. I hadn’t seen him since I was fifteen, now at twenty five, but that didn’t stop the flashbacks. It was like I was right there again.
I closed my eyes tightly, hoping I could get some sleep before pop got home from work. He was usually angry, drunk or a mix of the two. I closed my eyes tightly as I heard him coming up the stairs, I was already starting to shake.
“Please, Jerry, please, leave him alone,” My father started and I knew he was trying to protect me again. My parents mostly fought over me and how pop treated me. I felt the overwhelming urge to protect my dad, knowing that pop would have tackled him by now, as I could hear his fists hitting my dad but I couldn’t bring myself to move, I was too scared to move. I just stayed there, silently, my face under the blanket and my earphones turned up loudly, trying to drown out the sound. Soon my bedroom door slammed open and I was dragged out of my bed.
“What the fuck are you doing?” He demanded. “You’re so lazy!” He snapped and hit me again, in the face. He usually aimed for my stomach, and places I could hide, but tonight he didn’t care, he hit me square in the nose, I heard the cartilage snapping at the same time I felt the pain rush up my face and the warm blood drip down onto my lips. He then ordered me to go downstairs to do some useless chore.
Dad and I had tried to leave before the time in this memory, but pop always found us and he’d told dad he would kill me if we tried to leave again, so we didn’t dare try.
“Doug, Doug?” Heather asked, taking my hand as I slowly came back to reality. “I asked what your dads were like, will I get to meet them?” she asked.
“You can meet dad, my pop is actually in jail,” I admitted, we had been dating a year, and I could tell it had bothered her that I hadn’t brought up my parents at all during that time. I was surprised she put up with my walls for this long.
“Oh,” she said. “When was the last time you saw him?” she asked. I closed my eyes tightly and I remembered that day.
“You say he attacked your father and then came after you?” My lawyer asked as I had sat on the stand at just sixteen, a year after the previous incident, not long before this court date I had reached out to a teacher at school.
“Yes,” I said. “I… He left my father passed out on the floor and he broke my nose,” I explained.
“And this wasn’t the first time?” he asked. I shook my head.
“Several times a week… Since I was eleven,” I told him honestly, my hands trembling as I waited for them to say I could go.
“You can step down, that’s all I need,” they told me, I don’t remember much of the rest of the trial but I remember how my pops had glared at me, and how he’d told me everything was my fault, but at that point, I had realized it wasn’t and I spoke out.
When I returned to reality the second time. “When I was sixteen, I don’t like to talk about my parents, I’m sorry,” I told her. “My pop was abusive to both of us… Neither of us have ever talked about it,”I had admitted to her and she wrapped her arms tightly around me, and I began to open up about it. For the first time I broke my silence.