Everything is different now.
I’m no longer the frightened child who was raised in horror and violence; submissive to a tyrant father and the cult to which he bound our family. Nor am I the angry twenty-something grappling with the aftermath of my childhood.
I left that life nearly a decade ago. All ties severed like a withered and diseased limb threatening to infect the rest of the body. Silence maintained like a protective barrier meant to keep monsters at bay. Yet despite years of hiding in hopes to find a life cut off from my past, the past finally caught up to me.
A letter arrived three days ago. The pastor of my father’s church wrote to inform me of my father’s passing. In it he demanded I return home at once to handle my father’s affairs. I tossed the letter in the garbage.
A day later my cell phone rang. It was the pastor.
“You have to come home.”
“Who the? How did you get this number? And how did you find my address?”
“You have to come home, Marcus”
“I don’t have to do shit.”
“He was your father.”
“He was a tyrant!”
“It’s your responsibility! You owe it to…”
“Don’t you DARE! I don’t owe him a fucking thing! You hear me? Not a fucking thing!”
“Stop acting like a…”
The fragile cell phone skipped and shattered across the pavement to a cacophony of obscenities. It wasn’t one of my more poised moments swearing through clenched teeth and pacing like a madman.
Nothing would have soothed my seething rage more than beating the life out of that man. Instead I settled for kicking the wreckage of my phone further down the street. Luckily, I was due for an upgrade.
For several days after receiving the call, a heavy burden of guilt and responsibility held fast to conscience. Every waking moment my thoughts wandered to the house of my youth replaying echoes of misery and pain all while overlapping the traumatic memories with a promise of closure.
The promise of closure, and the weight of some unwarranted sense of responsibility, could not be easily dismissed. So here I am; on the I-5 for the next 13 hours. If I had any sense, I would use the time to talk myself into turning back.
Author’s Note: I am working on a writing project. This is a reworking of an earlier draft. I’m unsure if I want to tell this story in first or third person. I do like the removal of some of the earlier elements. If you get a chance to look them over, let me know what you think.