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The Holidays and the 38 Revolver, Part II

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I even knew what the downstairs would look like.  It would be littered with glass and broken furniture.  It would look like a massacre took place.  Sometimes it even got on your school books and every day you had to look at it while you were in school.  I used these images to fuel my hate and anger, it would allow me to step in and try to stop this craziness before he either crippled her or killed her.  Once Daddy reach this intense level of his insanity, he was almost impossible to stop.  As Mama screamed, “You are going to kill me” over and over again. I knew I had to stop this, so I lay in bed and called on my old friends … anger and hate.  I had to build up these emotions to the point that I could move, get out of bed, and do something. I guess I got angry enough to come up with a plan.
 
I was in about the fourth or fifth grade at this time, so I was about nine or ten years of age. I don’t know how long the fight would have gone on and if he would have killed my mother in a fit of rage?  I just knew I had to stop it.  I went into their bedroom and got my father’s 38 revolver.  I knew how to fire it; he had taught me that. I had the hammer pulled back and all I needed to do was to pull the trigger.  My parents had not even turned any lights on and the house was dark and glass was flying and screams were blood curdling and I crept down the steps.  They were in the living room fighting so I set on the steps about half way down the stairs and waited for a chance to kill my father.  I sat there nervously feeling the cold steel of the gun and I waited. I held the gun up to my face and the coolness of the metal helped me to focus, and I sighted it in several times to be sure I would get a good shot. I knew better than to get too close to him so I sat in the dark and waited for my chance.  I looked at the hammer that was pulled back on the gun so all I had to do was pull the trigger, one pull it would be over.  My fear was not that he would do something to me, but he would beat my mother to death and then start in on all of us, as he had done so many times in the past.
 
I got my chance when my father dragged my mother into the entry hall.  He came screaming into the hall. I could see both of them in the moonlight that lit up the entryway and the night.  He was kicking her as she lay on the hallway floor, she was screaming for him to stop.  I very calmly and sternly told my mother to move out of the way so I could shoot my father. I intended to kill him. Maybe I was insane at this point too. The fight stopped, and this was the only time that I had seen my father afraid.  He actually hid behind my mother.  She was sheltering him with her body and telling me I didn’t want to shoot anybody.  I assured her I did and that we could be free of all this fear and his beatings.  I don’t remember what all she said to convince me not to shoot.  She talked and talked and eased her way across the hall and up the steps a little at a time. She inhaled and said “OH MY GOD, she has the trigger pulled back”.  My father said the most ridiculous thing I could have imaged. He said, “Don’t upset her.”  Were they both oblivious to what their way of life was doing to all of us?  Of that whole night that to me was most insane part, “Don’t upset her.”
 
 My mother continued up the steps taking her time so as not to upset me.   I sat on the steps watching blood flow from her nose and drop onto the steps.  Even in the moonlight I could see what a mess he had made of her face.  Rivers of blood flowed from her feet where she had stepped on the glass.  It almost hypnotized you.  She sat on the steps just below me and tried to scare me by telling me how I would go to jail for this the rest of my life.  Was she insane too? Did she really think that jail would scare me?  Jail couldn’t be any worse than what we lived in and I told her so.  I didn’t care what happened to me; it would free her and the kids from all this madness.   She finally convinced me to give her the gun.  The funny part was I was relieved.  I thought I could kill my father, but I couldn’t.  As bad as it was, I could not pull that trigger.  If I could have pulled it, I would have done so the minute I had a shot and I had quite a few shots I could have taken.  I guess anger will only take you so far.  My father was lucky. I did value life and knew it should be treated with respect.  Even though I hate him, I could not kill him.  I guess I really was the lucky one.
 
My mother sent me to bed and we never talked about it again.  No one comforted me or held me, nor did I expect them too.  I knew as big of a bully as my father was, he more a coward.  He always picked on people weaker than him and I lost all respect for him as a person.  I never ever respected him ever again.  It didn’t mean I wasn’t afraid of him, it just meant I didn’t respect him.
 
This is my kind of fear, the fear that I grew up in.  The fear I felt every day of my life.  Like a drowning person looking at death and life and not really sure which end would be the best ending to your life?  Fear that knotted you up and wore you out and left you numb.  Fear that made you bite your nails, pull your hair, left you wanting to just scream and scream and scream.  There was no relief, no consistency to what made the fear come or go.  This is hell on earth.

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