He came crashing up the stairs, wrecking havoc along his path. His bulky body thumped against the wall and the staircase railing back and forth with every uneven step he took.
In the room at the top of the staircase, my eyelids flew open. I would recognize those muffled, clumsy footsteps anywhere, even in my sleep. That was the sound I dreaded the most. That was the sound I spent my waking hours worrying about. That was the sound of the footsteps of a man whom I could not bear to call my father.
As silently as I could, I got up from my position at the foot of my mother’s queen-sized bed. A bed too large for one person to sleep in. My mother looked so small sleeping on her side of the bed, always leaving the other side empty, in the hopes that that despicable man would one day climb back into bed and lay by her side forever.
Oh, he comes back, all right. He comes back after he has drunk himself into oblivion and pounds on my mother’s bedroom door, demanding for money. I have begged her countless times never to hand him any of her savings. I told her that he would only spend it all on drugs and alcohol and come back for more, but she wouldn’t listen to me. That poor old soul, she was so blinded by a non-existent love that she would even give her life to him if she had to.
I never worried much about my mother as she always had ample money for that man. I always thought that he would just take the money and leave, so I never bothered to include myself in her twisted little affair.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It wasn’t until late last month that I realized something was amiss. Fresh bruises and cuts started appearing on my mother’s skin every time that man visited. It was as if blue roses were blooming on her skin, blotching its smooth surface with angry spots and cuts. I questioned her about the bruises and cuts, but she would always brush it aside and cook up a feeble excuse. Well, she did not fool me. I knew what was going on and I was going to make it stop.
I decided to take matters into my own hands by sneaking into my mother’s room after she has fallen asleep and sleeping at the foot of her bed so that if that man comes for her, he would have to get past me first. We had a few peaceful nights... until tonight.
I locked my mother’s bedroom door from the inside as I left the room to face that monster, to protect her. Immediately, my gaze landed on a man with a bloated stomach and messy hair who had just landed on the top of the staircase, swaying about , trying to balance himself against the railing. He smelled like vomit and cigarettes. The sheer sight and smell of him filled me with hatred and disgust. I wanted to push him down the flight of stairs so badly.
Repressing those feelings, I walked towards him and said as calmly as I could, “leave.” With his eyes half-closed in a drunken stupor, he looked me over. “Don’t you dare challenge me, son,” he said, his voice deep and his words slurred. I glared at him, this ugly, resentful creature in front of me. “I. Am. Not. Your. Son,” I spat each word at him as if they were poison, “and leave my mother alone.”
Before I knew it, his fist came flying towards me and landed squarely on my nose. Instantly, I felt a sharp pain and blood came gushing out of my nostrils in an angry stream. Enraged, I lifted my right fist, ready to throw a punch at him. But before I could do it, his eyes widened in shock as he fell backwards, tumbling down the flight of staircase.
“No one treats my son with violence and gets away with it,” a voice said from my side.
Surprised, I turned to my left only to find my mother standing there with a grim expression on her face. She pulled me into an embrace before kneeling down to inspect my nose from various angles, concern woven into the creases on her forehead. “Are you okay? Gosh, I can’t believe I’ve been so blinded all this time,” she muttered as she wiped my blood with her sleeve.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was as if a switch in her had flipped and suddenly, she had snapped out of her fantasy world. The pain in my nose was nothing compared to the joy I felt for my mother. I hugged her so tight that she laughed and said, “okay now, you’re crushing my ribcage.”
We called the police and the ambulance who whisked that sick man away in a stretcher. We even got a reward from the police for turning in a wanted felon. Then, my mother drove me to a nearby clinic to get my nose fixed. A smile was plastered on my face the entire journey even though my nose hurt, because I knew that from this point onwards in life, the future will be much brighter for my mother and I. Just the both of us, with no one else tying us down.
My mother glanced at me, caught my eye, and smiled. It’s the start of something new.