Ten months had passed since I saw the vision of Father Christmas. My parents were still together, but things hadn’t improved. The arguments and fights continued; it felt normal to me, and I presumed all parents lived like that. I didn’t thought to mention it to school friends.
One October afternoon, while my younger brother played in the lounge and I up in my bedroom, my parents started another fight. It seemed more intense than usual, and Daddy shouted up to me. I ran to the stairs, but I froze part way down them when my father charged along the hall from the kitchen wielding a carving knife.
He looked at me and screamed that my mother wanted him dead while he pointed the carving knife toward his chest. Intense heat soared through me, and I was petrified. My mind fogged. My father looked different to how I remembered him. My little body shook, and I was stuck to the spot.
My brother stood in the lounge doorway screaming and crying. Daddy didn’t care that we stood in terror watching him threatening to kill himself. Mother rushed out of the kitchen to stop Daddy from tormenting us any further. Her attempts failed as he continued to rant that she no longer loved him and she wanted him dead.
I couldn’t take my stare off the knifepoint with it pushed against Daddy’s chest. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t scream and I couldn’t move. I saw the fear in my brother’s eyes while he continued to scream and cry. Mother held my brother behind her while she shouted at Daddy to stop it. She told me to look away from him. I couldn’t do as she told me.
Seeing my brother in so much distress broke the spell that held me stiff. Tears streamed down my cheeks. The world slowed down. I heard my breath. My heart pounded. I saw my Daddy’s crazed eyes, my mother’s distress and my brother’s tears, but I couldn’t hear them. I saw the carving knife scratching my Daddy’s skin.
Blood pumped through my ears. My head felt close to exploding. I lost control and ran screaming to my bedroom. I couldn’t bear to see my parents suffering so much. I felt wretched seeing my brother’s fear but not being able to help him. I had failed him.
I threw myself on my bedroom floor and screamed. My soul wailed. I went into a fit, thumping at the floor, kicking at the air and screaming. I finally released the months of terror, anxiety and frustration into the world. No one came, no one heard…no one cared.
Eventually, the house and I fell calm. I lay on my bedroom floor staring at the ceiling; my mind drifted into the swirls of the Artex. Visions of Daddy piercing the skin of his chest with the carving knife clouded my mind. I wondered if Daddy had killed himself and perhaps taken my mother and brother with him. I imagined going downstairs to find my entire family slaughtered.
I slowly stepped outside my bedroom into the hallway. The house seemed strangely quiet and dark except for gentle sounds coming from my parents’ bedroom. Gingerly, I peered around the door to see Daddy packing a suitcase. Seeing him stood there alive and well filled me with so much relief.
Daddy saw me stood looking at him with a curious and confused expression on my face. He didn’t tell me what was happening but told me to go see my mother. I didn’t argue or question him. I left him throwing his clothes into the suitcase while I headed downstairs.
When I approached the hallway downstairs, I could hear my mother and brother sobbing in the kitchen. Mother saw me and put out her arms. I hugged into her but still I said nothing. My brother took my hand, which made me cry. I felt I had let him down. The three of us remained in the kitchen crying.
The front door slammed shut. My heart filled with terror as I tried to break free from my mother’s hug. I broke free and ran toward the front door. Mother called after me to come back to her, but I kept going. In a panic, I tried to open the front door but it wouldn’t budge.
I raced up the stairs screaming and calling out, ‘Daddy!’, ‘Daddy!’
I ran into my parent’s bedroom and saw that Daddy was no longer there. I feared he had slammed the front door, and it seemed I was right. I charged to their bedroom window and saw Daddy getting into his car. I hammered my fists against the window and cried out to him, ‘Daddy, come back!’ ‘Come back, Daddy!’
He glanced up, but he did not smile, wave or acknowledge me. After a year of fighting, mental abuse and suicide threats, I saw Daddy abandon me. My heart broke; I stood at the window and wept. I kept shouting, ‘Daddy!’, but no more would he come, no more would that word figure in my life.
Mother told my brother and me that Daddy had moved out, and that they would no longer be living together. Then I heard the word that tore my little world apart: DIVORCE. I had no idea how I could grow up without Daddy. I asked if I would see him again, to which my mother answered yes. Something in me doubted it and that thought terrified me.
The house seemed empty and cold without Daddy there. I wanted him to come back. I wanted my parents to be happy again and not to fight anymore. I wanted Daddy to be at home like the daddies of my cousins and school friends. I worried that my brother and I would be weird because Daddy doesn’t live with us.
I felt confused and lost.
I couldn’t find a way out of the dilemma.
The whole world seemed sad and dark.