Before me stands a small girl looking around the age of five. Her face is wet and swollen from the tears streaming down her flushed cheeks. I know she has done nothing wrong yet those around be differ. By those around around me, I mean father. I can relate to my sister’s predicament far too well. The room reeked of the smell of alcohol. There were shards of glass sprayed across the floor authenticating that this is, in fact, reality. My instincts to run up to her and save her tremble when my father turns his eyes to me. I lower my eyes to the stained floor boards. I hear the soft sniffling coming from my younger sister. Then a strange bubbling feeling grows inside of me, but I know it’s not fear. I cannot witness him harm me nor my sister any longer than it already has. With new found determination I straighten my back and shoot my eyes upward. I stare intently into my father’s bloodshot eyes.
“No,” I whisper. The eyes staring back at me sharpen and look at me with the intensity of an eagle soaring over the treetops. I will not let him be the eagle.
“What did you just say?” He snarls with no trace of sympathy; or any feeling if that. It was as if he was possessed by some unhumanly force.
“Mom would not be proud of you…” I say confidently but then my voice trails off. Dad flinches as if I had just punched him. He takes a few uneasy steps backward; away from my sister and myself. When his back hits the wall with a loud bang, my sister quickly yet quietly moves towards me. Instinctively, I take a step in front of her; my eyes not leaving my father.
“I don’t want to go down this road, Dad,” I pause choosing my words carefully. “I love you, but we will have to go away if you don’t stop. I don’t like you hurting her,” I state gesturing to my sister. “I hate you hurting her more than I hate you for hurting me. Please… stop drinking,” Dad’s eyes flicker closed, like a light bulb burning out, and I see a single tear snake down his flushed cheek. I can’t recall ever seeing him cry.
“I-I’m s-s-so sorry, girls,” he whispers in a low raspy voice. I know in an instant that he is the old Dad again. The one who gave us piggy-back rides and splashed us in the pool. The one who I love; not the one who I’m afraid of. I remember he was the one who taught me to ride a bike. He would pick me up and place me back on the bike. I remember pouting that I would never learn. But he never gave up on me. I can’t give up on him. As these memories flood into my mind, tears start pouring out. I grab my sister’s hand and we both run over to Dad and embrace him from each side. We all cry for the sadness we have left behind and the new beginning ahead. A happy beginning.