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Pen Your Pride

My back slammed into the edge of our kitchen table. Pain erupted in my shoulders, sharp jolts shooting through the muscles like hot electricity. I crumpled to the floor, breaths slipping heavily from my lips as his enraged voice taunted me, deeming me worthless. His voice faded into distant background noise, which rocked my skull, until it became hardly noticeable at all. Mom screamed into the air, and the strident cries pierced my eardrums, and my heart, with their volume. 

Shivering on the floor, tears dripped down my cheeks like hot flames. My back emanated a physical pain unlike any other I had experienced, caused by the collision with hard wood. I had no motivation to stand. No motivation to rise and then be put into my place once more. 

"Stop it, Henry!" my mother screeched, long fingernails clawing at Dad's arm as he advanced toward me, carrying the scent of alcohol and sweat with him. A wild fervor spurred in his gaze at the sight of her, as she clung to him and worked to restrain him. 

Dad shook her off with ease and glanced at her with his wild eyes. "Get off of me," he spat, slapping her across the face. The blow sent my mother reeling, and she collided with the floor in a broken heap. She accepted the blow in silence, remaining where she lay on the floor. Her hands did not move to rub at the red imprint on her face. I knew a combination of pride and fear motivated her to bite her tongue and to have no reaction. 

Quite a memory. That lasting depiction of Dad glowering over my mother had been branded in my mind, and it had broken my spirit. I never again felt joy in that house. Where before happiness was a sparse luxury, it now became nonexistent. The battering never ceased, when he came home, and black and blue marks appeared like blots of ink all over mine and my mother's bodies, a product of his beatings.

Dad had accumulated a cesspool of anger during his lifetime. My mother attributed it to his childhood. She told me that his parents had beaten him, offered him no food to eat, and treated him like garbage. A residual anger emanated from his features each day, even during his rare moments of sobriety, and it escaped into the world whenever he drank alcohol. It was like an ugly spirit that only reared its head upon gaining permission. 

On the afternoon after I turned five, the beatings began. He came home and discovered his little son had dragged a stool to the sink, and stood on it, dumping his bottles of alcohol down the sink. Aggravation had overtaken me then, for he wasted all of our money on poison, which at the time was nameless to me yet still terrifying. Dumping all of it was my first attempt at retaliation.  

On that occasion, he beat me with a black leather belt. He whipped it all over my body, causing big, red welts to appear on my skin. For weeks afterward, I could not sit down, or lean against a wall, without crinkling my face at the immense pain caused by the pressure against my skin. The belt became his primary tool of abuse, and he used it for a few years.

Some nights, after Dad had passed out somewhere, my mother came into my room with the intention of comforting me. Her face was always swollen, bruised, damaged because of my father. Her elegant features, and her long, flowing blonde hair and emerald eyes seemed almost marred by the abuse, to the extent that they hardly resonated to others as beautiful but rather as pointless. When she would come into my room, she sat on the edge of the couch, which served as my bed, and held my small hands in her own, pressing her face down on the top of my head. Tears escaped the corners of her eyes, dampening my cheeks when she pulled back to kiss my face all over. She always said the same thing, life is unfortunate at times, but it will get better.

What I did not understand then, and what I still don't understand, was why my father became a monster over the years. He forced my mother to watch the abuse of her child. During the beatings, she would clench her fists, bite her bottom lip, draw blood, and scream and tug at him, but nevertheless, it never stopped him from harming me. I do not blame her for that, anymore, it was the best she could do.

Anymore, and it would have only been worse for us.

As I aged into a teenager, fighting back became easier for me. I would hit him back even as tremors overtook my body, and I would shove and scream back at him whenever he tried hurting me. My resistance made our lives worse, my mother's and mine, but I could not endure it in silence any longer.

I deserved better.

Now I did not, because my father had ruined me.

So I ran away from my family. Having seen more sorrow and felt more hate than most people ever had to, I abandoned the man that made me how I am, and the woman who watched it all happen. When I left, I realized that it was not a home to me anymore. Love defined home, and only hate existed within those walls.

I ran away, accepted isolation and the abandonment of my mother, in order to be happy.

Fragile (BxB) #Wattys2016Read this story for FREE!