It was 3am when his slurs and stumbles sounded. He was early tonight. Mum’s lonely snores echoed through the tired walls of the house. My mind wouldn’t let me sleep. Words caught in my throat, song lyrics I’d lined countless notebook pages with, thoughts that seemed only meaningful enough for the depths of the night. I let go of my guitar within seconds. A few seconds too late. He’d heard.
“What did I tell you about your dumb music?” His words were knives slicing through me. My heartbeat accelerated with his footsteps. Vodka lined his breath, his eyes red as the blood that stained his left cheek. I closed my eyes but couldn’t avoid the way my body shook beneath the covers. They couldn’t protect me. Nobody could.
My vision blurred as he reached for the guitar. Pieces of wood flew through the air as if they were meaning to escape. I wished I could. The final strums of the strings echoed against my bed frame as the instrument shattered. I wanted to scream, but Mum did that for me. Evil burned through his fiery eyes. “Now I’ll never have to hear this sound again.”
I watched him rip the songs I’d spent hours writing, bleeding tears about his absence, his alcoholism. I lost myself in the words like he lost himself in bottles. I only wrote songs about him. Because there was a part of me, a part smaller than the guitar picks I hid in my t-shirt drawer, that was still hopeful. Hopeful he’d realise, hopeful he’d change. Hopeful he’d choose his family, he’d choose me. But, in that moment, when splinters of my guitar dotted the floor and his laugh deafened my tears, I lost all hope for my father.