My mother was frantically grabbing clothes when she suddenly stopped and turned to my brother.
“Should we leave him a note? Or do you want to?”
After taking a moment to consider having his say, my brother shook his head.
“Yea, I got some things I want to say. We can both leave a note. Write yours first.”
He quickly found a piece of paper and a pen that he handed to my mother. I stood silently in the background feeling even more alone than I already did in my family. My heart throbbed and my chin quivered. My body trembled and my breathing ragged. Why wasn’t I asked my thoughts or feelings? Didn’t it matter? Of course, my thoughts and feelings were the same as theirs. I desperately wanted to get away from my violent father, but, at the moment, I felt as invisible and useless as I had felt throughout my childhood.
“I want to leave a note, too. I want to tell daddy how I really feel,” I declared.
My mother’s eyebrows creased, and her lips turned down before looking towards my brother for help. He hesitated a moment before speaking up.
“I don’t know… I mean, I don’t know if it’s a good idea for you to write anything.”
“Why not? Both of you are, and I have something to say.”
Now it was my brother’s turn to look to my mother for help.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea either. Just grab some things you want to take and let us finish this so we can get out of here,” my mother told me.
My heart felt like it dropped beneath my feet and was stomped on. I wanted the chance to tell my father my true feelings. I wanted him to know that I was angry for everything he had done, but, mostly, I wanted him to know how much he had hurt me. He had never allowed me to express my feelings without punishment, and now that I had the chance and was denied, I was even more angry. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became.
I chose that moment to have my say. Perhaps my mother’s courage was infectious, or my brother’s determination was contagious, or maybe it was the thought of not having to face my father afterwards. Either way, I spent those valuable minutes searching for the two things I knew my father cherished, so that I could have my say in my own way. Once I found his favorite brown cowboy hat and boots, I searched for a pair of scissors. While my mother and brother discussed the goodbye letter, I cut and ripped as much as I could of my father's boots and hat. I pulled and tore at the items with my hands until my strength was depleted. When I was done destroying my father’s things, I struggled to get a grip on my breathing and shaking hands. The energy that had been fueled by my rage ran out, and I was left feeling tired and empty.
I placed the boots and hat on my bed and left the bedroom, closing the door behind me. Exhausted, I sought out my mother and brother to see if it was time to leave. After they were satisfied with their note, the three of us got in my mother’s car and started towards my uncle’s house where we would be hiding out. Once we arrived, we put away the few clothes and things we brought with us, and my uncle assured us he would get anything else that we needed.
Within a matter of hours, I heard the familiar hum of an engine and walked outside to see my father’s white Toyota truck passing my uncle’s house. My stomach clenched and knotted, and I felt my heart strumming in my throat. He had already found us. The hope I held for getting away from my father was only a small fragment, and now it threatened to diminish completely.
After several days and nights of my father driving back and forth past my uncle’s house, he suddenly stopped. My mother discovered that he had made the decision to stay at a relative’s house in Gulfport. Knowing my father wasn’t around, we made the trip back home and discovered just how enraged he was when he found us gone. On first entering the driveway, we saw my mother’s favorite young crepe myrtle tree black and covered in soot and ashes. Surrounding the tree was our family photo albums or what was left of them. A lone picture, partially burned, of my brother sat on top of the pile of memories that could not be recovered.
About the Creator
I am a Creative Writing major at Belhaven University in Mississippi. I was focused on writing fiction, but within the last year I have developed a relationship with God. Now, I am here to tell my story of survival as a testimony to God.