"Char, will you promise me something?"My mother whimpered in pain
as she reached out her hand to take mine. Though rough, her voice
came out sweet, loving, and musical. A symphony played in my ear,
inspiration to be the best I can be. It was the last time we
would ever talk, but I didn't know this at the time.
I was so trusting, untainted by the after math of death, depression, and heartbreak. I felt on top of the world, sure my mother would be coming home from the hospital any day now. "Of course, Mom!" So, stupidly trusting I cried out, "Anything!"
She locked her smallest finger to mine. Little was I too know that I'd break the promise later on. "Listen close, darling, protect our family, ecpessially Lilly and Andy. Forgive me for everything, I mean everything, I will cause you to feel." It didn't make sense in my young unbroken mind, not at the time. "Lastly, this is the most important. Please, remember to not ever give up on anything or anyone you love. Hold onto those things with all of your might. Do you understand me?" I nodded, agreeing silently, but I didn't get it. "Will you keep this promise, my dear?"
Blindly, I promised.
"I love you, baby girl. Now, go home and get some sleep." I agreed again, but left with out saying a thing. Had I but known...
Two hours later, my mother passed away from a brain tumor. My father was with her at the time, rocking her in his arms I heard.I was a meer fifteen, barely old enough to understand.
I don't remember much about the day I found out she was gone. I was at school, playing the piano. The principal pulled my to the side and told me. I ran from the place. I recall that it was very cold, everywhere was like an icebox. Even wrapped in two blankets with Lilly and Andy at my side, I froze. The funeral was a blur as well. It as though my mind blocks out the memory of any thing to do with that horrid time. I wish I remembered.
My father dissapeared for a month or so. If I hadn't taken all of my money out of the bank beforehand, my mother's wish, we all would have starved to death. I had about a thousand dollars at the time. We lived on fast food, the cheapest I could find. We all still lost ill amounts of weight.
After that time was over, it got a thousand times worse. One night, as I sat in my bed crying, a creaking of the door opening alarmed me. I froze in fear, then a loud cry rang out. "Anna, Annabelle!? Where are you, my love?" My mother's name pressed on my chest.
Running down the stairs, a bang of a body hitting the floor echoed. What I found was horrifying, unnatural, and completely foreign to my life.
A man that looked oddly familiar was passed on the floor moaning. His sweat filled sticky hair stank and a bitter scent accompanied it. I had no clue where my father had been, drunken at a bar. It became a daily habit, his funding from girls he'd meet and cry too. I didn't know that for the longest time, either. For what felt like an eternity of hell, he would come home crying for my mother, silence the only reply. After the third night, we learned to lock our doors and try to sleep through it.
None of us did.
Then, it magically stopped. One day as I returned home from another monotonous day of school, I found a chore list on the counter, written in an ancient ugly scrawl. Things were finally returning to a normal life. I cleaned the house to a pristine state. Lillyand Andy came home to find the radio on and the windows open as I scrubbed the fridge, magically filled with food.
At five-thirty exactly, he walked in and turned on the television to some game. At six, I got up the nerve to ask what was for dinner. He shrugged, telling me to make something. So, I became the mother and caretaker of a family of four.
Though awkward, the summer was nice and almost normal. In mid July, we learned the truth of things. The twins and I were eating dinner, talking midly about the day's events. I had taken them to an art museum downtown, free for the day. Andy stood to go grab a peice of art he had made there, leaving his spot on the table dirty. Never once in our life time had that been acceptable, though not so harshly punished before. My father stood, his eyes filled with a rage that I knew not of.
"Andrew Kayden Stevens! What the hell do you think your doing!?" He screamed it, though my poor younger brother stood a meer foot away.
Surprised, Andy replied, "What do you mean, dad? I thought you and mom would like it." Realizing what he had said, he took a step backwards. My father stepped with him, meeting him close enough to smell the rank of alcohol again on his breath.
"You do not leave the table with out cleaning your spot!" It had been a religion for my mother, we all cleaned our own dishes, and took turns on the rest. It was the only way we knew, but Andrew assumed things had changed. His hand came to his only son's cheek before Lilly and I could process the situation. Andy fell to the ground.
He left again that day, wasn't back for two weeks. When he did make an appearance, was with alcohol in his hand on the couch, asleep and disgusting. Things returned to the state they were in before. Nightmares plague me still. At least once a week, my father would hurt Andy. It went from small things like slaps to kicking and throwing things. Lilly and I were exempt.
Two weeks after another year of school had started, he hit me. I had failed a pretest, and he somehow knew. Two months later and I was treated worse than my darling brother. I was out of school for a week once, my arm out of use.
The only thing that got me through it all was my music. I had begun to play the piano the year I turned three, falling in love before I knew the meaning. I could play anything set infront of me, but I longed for a peice of my own. Every once in a blue moon I would fill a measure of music, my own creation. That music contains my soul.