Thanksgiving comes once a year, and it has finally arrived. The smell of fresh turkey, mom’s home- made cranberries and wild rice always excites me. I go nuts for it. Mom made me set two seats at the table plus one more just in case my father shows up. Every Thanksgiving we set a spot for him and he never shows up. Why would any year be different?
As my mother and I bowed our heads down to pray, the doorbell rang. I looked at mom with confusion and said, “Hold on I’m coming!” A bald scruffy- looking man with an oversized suit was standing in our doorway and as I glared into his eyes I wondered why he hasn’t died yet.
“Hello father,” I said.
“Hello, Lynn. It’s nice to finally see you. It’s been about two or three years since I last saw you,” he said as I glared into his sappy eyes.
“Lynn, my darling, let’s just focus on today. It’s Thanksgiving.”
As he walked in mom’s house, I got a massive whiff of alcohol.
I shut the door slowly and mumbled, “This is going to be the best Thanksgiving ever.”
I knew mom wasn’t going to be pleased that her ex-husband showed up to her house drunk, especially on her favorite holiday. I waited about five minutes leaning against the door, just breathing, and listening to my parents talk for the first time in three years. They talked like nothing had ever happened between them.
“How have you been, Jennifer? Thank you for having me,” he said.
I leaned over the corner to see my mom’s response as she smiled and said, “You’re welcome anytime, Bill.” I felt like my whole world was spinning. I knew the cranberries and wild rice were getting cold and I hated that.
“Lynn, dear, it’s time to eat!” my mother said.
As I walked over with fear, I sat down next to my father with my hands nowhere near him. I didn’t even want to look at him or even share Thanksgiving with him. My body began to feel numb and my hands became clammy and sweaty. I could hear my heart beat pounding perfectly as sweat began dripping from my forehead. I began to turn pale.
“Lynn, dear, are you feeling okay?” Mother asked.
“Yes, mother,” I lied straight to her face.
As we ate in silence, all I could think about was how good the cranberries and wild rice were. My mother asked how my father was doing, and she didn’t even acknowledge that he had been drinking which is very typical of her.
“I am doing well. I published my fourth book,” Father said.
My mother dropped her fork and jumped with excitement. I haven’t seen her jump that high before since watching her cheerleading videos from high school.
“You published My Girl?!” Mother asked.
“No. I put that one aside and wrote another one last summer called Bluebird,” he said.
My mother’s face dropped and didn’t seem amused. “I don’t understand. I worked so hard on that with you for over five years.” My dad continued talking about how that story was too personal and complicated. I felt sorry for my mom because My Girl was about her falling in love with my dad in high school. My dad is a famous writer. He won many awards, and he is the reason why I love to write and I hate him for that. The reason I love to write is because I can express my feelings onto paper instead of talking to someone about it in person.
“May I be excused?” I asked.
“Of course, dear, just make sure you push in your chair,” Mother said.
I violently pushed my chair half way and gave my father the devil’s eye.
I ran upstairs to my room and decided to write down my thoughts and ideas. Maybe a short story would help. Sitting and looking out into the ocean, I breathed in and exhaled my negative thoughts. It was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining through my glass windows. I could hear the seagulls, and feel the sun’s heat on me. I couldn’t let my father ruin my Thanksgiving. I could still hear them talking downstairs, just like the old times and it made me sick. My father left three years ago to live on his own so he wouldn’t have any distractions with his writing. My mother was so sad and couldn’t bare the pain so she divorced him. Watching my mom being all perky and flirty with my dad makes me want to shake her and tell her what her husband has done to me. My mom is oblivious to everything. We don’t communicate we live in the moment and don’t talk about our problems. She acts like everything is fine between Bill and her. When Bill left, my mom would lock herself in her room and sob for days. Sometimes I wouldn’t see her for over a month because she was so heartbroken. Trying to keep my life on track, I normally would ignore her and focus on my writing and school. My mom made it up to me though by moving to a beach house. She knows I love beaches and I always wanted to live near one.
Lucky for me, I have a great lifestyle. Every morning I go surfing and go out on my jet ski. I enjoy writing and playing with my fox terrier Bentley. I live on the beach right on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. I ride my bike to college every day and I major in writing. I am currently writing a story about lost love. I don’t believe in love anymore. After dating so many guys, I realized they didn’t love me, they loved my money. My motto is to avoid love at all costs. My mother is still in love with my father. Every night I watch my mother set a place for my father for dinner in case he shows up, which he hasn’t until today. If love is setting a place at a table for someone who is never coming home, why even bother? Nobody lasts forever, and the perfect example are my parents. I could hear footsteps coming up the stairs, and I quickly shut my notebook.
“Hey, Hunny,” my mother said.
“Hey, Mommy,” I replied.
“Is it okay if Bill crashes here tonight on the sofa?” she asked.
My heart stopped. I mumbled and replied, “Yeah, why not?”
As my mom walked away I shut my door and locked it bursting into tears. I never had the courage or knowledge to tell my mother that I have been raped by my father since I was teenager. My parents were together for seven years and in that time period for three years he has raped me on and off. Seeing my mother happy makes me smile in a twisted, fucked up way. My father raped me when I was thirteen years old in one of our other houses in a tent in our backyard. My mother thought it was a good idea so that me and dad could bond and go camping. At that time I thought it was a great idea until he touched me in inappropriate places. At first when it happened, I thought all fathers did this with their daughters. It was normal, and it was bonding until I felt the pain in my vagina. I screamed. He put his hand over my mouth and forced me down until he was done. He swore to me if I ever told mom he would kill me and make it look like I was lying. I never talked about that day to anybody and now since I am twenty, it happened a long time ago. I need to let go of the past and forget that it all happened. If my mother found out the truth about my father, it would destroy her. I could hear wine bottles being tossed in the trashcan and knew that this night was going to be hell. Whenever my father drank that’s when a lot of the sexual abuse happened.
Being almost 11 at night I decided to go to bed with a baseball bat underneath my bed and locked my door. If anything happened tonight, I would probably smack the shit out of him. With all the anger I have towards him I would probably end up killing him. I didn’t even say goodnight to my mom. I normally do, but she seems too caught up with Bill. As I lay in my bed listening to the waves and smelling the fresh air, I calm down with a smile on my face. I had no idea what the time was, but I hoped it was morning because then I knew I made it through the night without getting raped by my father. I sighed and closed my eyes. I heard steps coming up the stairs, heavy steps. My skin and body were sweating and my mouth became dry and it felt like I lost my voice. I felt powerless just laying there like I was thirteen again. The doorknob jiggled a little and my heart stopped and I felt tingly everywhere in my body. I watched the door knob jingle some more. I heard something go in the doorknob and heard the door wiggle. It sounded like a key or a paperclip sliding in and somehow the doorknob turned and opened. A shadow came into my room.
I quickly got the baseball bat from underneath my bed, and swung it around to hit my father. I couldn’t see a thing. It was pitch dark, and all I could smell was alcohol and his horrible cologne that he wears. As sweat and tears ran down my face I began to sob. I kept shouting, “You bastard!” “Get out of here!” I yelled for my mom multiple times. I screamed so loud that my father lunged over the bed and put his hand over my mouth.
“Lynn, baby, didn’t you miss me?” he asked.
I kicked and screamed and began biting his hand. He smiled and whispered into my ear, “Oh, how I missed this, baby.” He started undressing me and taking off my clothes. He licked my neck all the way down to my breast. I tried to fight back but his weight kept me down. Laying there I felt paralyzed. I haven’t felt this much pain in forever and as all these memories came rushing into my head I didn’t know what to do. He grunted and moaned until he was finished. He looked like he just won a gold medal in the Olympics. He reminded me not to tell mom or he would kill me.
As I looked up I saw my mother standing in the doorway just watching me suffer. My father stumbled towards the door. I closed my eyes and all I heard was a bullet. There was silence. I started to cry and looked at my mother. She had tears streaming down her face and there was a puddle of blood by her feet. My body was shaking because I was so emotional as I stepped over my dead father’s body so my mother could hold me while we both sobbed.
She whispered into my ear, “Hunny, I am so terribly sorry. I had no idea.” I held her tightly. At that moment I felt like my mother understood me and actually cared.
All of the sudden in a blink of an eye, there were sirens and flashing lights surrounding our house. Someone was pounding on the door and yelling, “Police, Police. Answer the door or we will break it down.” My mother and I froze as we held each other crying. The door breaks down and people started running up the stairs. As I closed my eyes I felt my mother letting go and trying to hold on to me. A police man was yelling at her to let go.
“Mommy, Mommy, please! I love you!” I repeated.
“I love you too, Lynn! I am so sorry, but now you can be free from him.” She said.
“Ma’am, you’re under arrest for the murder of this man and anything you say will be used against you in the court of law,” the officer stated.
As the police handcuffed my mother, I didn’t know what to think or what was going to happen with my life. I watched the police put my mother in the cop car from the porch. We kept eye contact until I couldn’t see the car anymore. Tears kept streaming down my face. There I was, in this amazing beach house with my father in puddles of blood in my bedroom and my mother going to prison. The “whatever” you want to call it fancy people are coming over to pick up the body soon. I went upstairs to my bedroom and saw that the gun was way in the corner. I picked it up and pointed it at my head. I held back the trigger and… Gone.