Anthology Short Story

He stomped up the stairs, down the hall and pounded on my door before shoving it open. "Look at this place! Your room is a mess. Clean it up NOW!" He- my father- turned to go.

"Shut. Up," I hissed, the two words like two separate sentences.

He turned back around slowly. "What did you say?" I could hear the imminent threat in his voice. Not that he ever hit me. No, he never laid a finger on me, but his words could hurt far more than any fist.

"I said why don't you just shut up! Clean my room? Why should I? I'm the one who lives in this room. I don't have a problem with it. If you don't like it, why do you even bother to open the door?"

"Don't you sass me! You get cleaning your room or I'll sit here and watch you do it."

"No! Just shut up and get the heck out of my life!" He turned and left, stomping out of my room. I felt him stomp down the stairs and slam the door. Then I heard him start his car and I watched him drive off down the street. It wasn't until a few hours later that I heard the news- he had gotten killed in a car accident. I went to my room, and, when I was finally alone, I threw my head back and laughed. He was finally out of my life- and for good.

At least, that's what happened in my mind. What really happened was the same thing that always happened. He came in and yelled at me about my room. Not that he ever raised his voice much. Certainly not enough for anyone outside the house to hear. Not like the kind of abuse that you read about. But I've learned that he doesn't have to raise his voice for me to consider it "yelling." He yells, and I just sit there and take it. I try not to cry until he leaves. But it's no use. Tears slip out and run down my face. I don't wipe them away, cause if I do, he'll notice for sure. I sit there while he spews, and finally he leaves. I sink into my bed and cry- silently. Tears, but no sounds. I haven't cried aloud in years. He might hear me. Then I would have to talk to him.

Now, instead of dreaming about the end of his life, I contemplated the end of mine. Suicide. They call it the easy way out. But it was a way out. Thinking about this, I knew I could never really take my own life. First, there was the pain. Algophobia. Fear of pain. Enough to keep me from killing myself. Too much pain involved. But what about the pain of staying alive? Having to live with him. It's not my fault I was born as his daughter.

I thought about suicide again. Maybe there were other ways I could kill myself, less painful ways. Gas maybe? But wait. If I left like that, gave up that way, it would be letting him win. I couldn't do that.

But really, what was the alternative? Leaving, whether through death or just going to live somewhere else, or staying and living in this hellhole? But how could I leave? Sure, I could wait two years and go off to college, and I could get out that way. But even if I did, what would that do? Sure, I could ignore him and avoid him for the rest of my life, but still, what would that have done? My mother would still be trapped. Why doesn't she leave? I don't even know if she would, if she could. I don't know if she still loves him even.

Anyway. I don't know. What am I supposed to do, anyway? I'm just a kid, a kid who can't remember a time when he wasn't like this, although I know he wasn't always.

The question came to mind out of nowhere: What do you do when you can't get someone out of your life, but you get sick to your stomach every time you're in the same room with them?

The answer: I don't know. I just don't know.

I've just been ignoring him, avoiding him. But I can't go on like this forever.

The next day, I started awake to the shrieking of my alarm clock. I reached over and pressed the snooze button. Five more minutes of blissful sleep.

Or not.

He stomps down the hall and pounds on my door. "You up?" he yells. Not the sound I wanted to wake up to.

"Yeah," I groan back. I hear him stomp away. I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep. Two minutes later I hear him again.

"Get up!"

"Yeah, yeah," I groan again. I figure it really is about time to get up, so I throw the covers off myself and try to find the willpower to put both feet on the floor and become vertical. It's not exactly what I want to be doing at 6:30 in the morning, especially since if he's waking me up, it means he's also going to be the one to drive me to school. Great. Ten more minutes in his presence. Just the way to start off the day.

As soon as I set foot out of his room, he starts talking to me. It doesn't really matter what he says, whatever words come out of his mouth make me sick. I try to ignore him and continue downstairs, hoping he won't say anything about my turning my back on him. Although that's what I'd love to do- turn my back on him for the rest of my life. I make it downstairs without listening to him much or having him ask me a question, which is good. If he doesn't ask me anything, then I don't have to say anything to him. If I don't say anything to him, I can pretend he's not even talking to me.

Yeah. Right. He keeps talking to me all throughout the ten minutes it takes for him to get me to school. I dodge a goodbye kiss and gratefully dart out of the car as I slam the door behind me.

I run into school and to my locker, getting the books I'll need for the day. I drop my bag off in my homeroom and continue down the hall and into the safe enclosure my group of friends make. I'll be happy with them, laughing and pretending to be okay, until I have to go home. Then it'll all start again.

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