I don't have many memories about my father, and all of them, except two, are dark and rather terrifying.
1. Fear. My father running around the dark wooden table with an ax, chasing my mom, yelling and threatening to kill her. I am in my bed, somewhere around 2-3 years old. I cry very loud, I scream from fear of loosing my mom, my world, the only known safety. Everything is collapsing around me. I can't control my breathing, my throat hurts, an my heart pounds very hard. The thoughts of loosing my mom and possibly loosing my life leave me paralyzed. I can't move, I can't run, I can't do anything, except scream uncontrollably.
2. My father takes me to the bar. I don't know what to expect. When I go in, I see few tables. The smell of the cigarettes chokes me, the smoke lingers everywhere. It's very loud. Every table is surrounded by few men, drinking mostly beer, at this time of the day, early afternoon. The beer glasses are sticky, drinks are spilled everywhere. Loud conversations between not quite sober men, sliced in between with the few shouts of those who can't control their tone of voice any more. I sit on a chair by one table. My father introduces me to his friends. He seems to be quite proud of me. They ask me questions, but I can't understand all of them, they are mumbling plus the noise around kills the sound of their voices. They are drinking beer. I feel like I don't belong to this world, where my father feels comfortable. He wanted to take me out somewhere, and I don't remember nothing except this steamy, sleazy atmosphere on one common afternoon.
3. My father ringing the door bell. My grandmother lets him in, and he collapses in the hall. He is so drunk, he can't even talk. My mom looks at him with disgust, my grandmother just pulls him inside, so she can shut the door. He lays there, smelling bad, not conscious, maybe sleeping. I am looking at him and I am glad he can't hurt us tonight. We go to our rooms and we close the doors, hoping that we will not have to deal with this situation till the morning. Just another night...
4. My father tells me a story: "When the children are not good, then a bad, old man comes to the door, carrying a huge sack on his back, and he puts the naughty kids inside and carries them away". I wonder if he made that story up, or if he heard it from someone else. I know it's not true, but I am afraid of the unknown. I think about this story often afterwords.
photo by Smodger
I couldn't remember nothing positive about him. One time, when I was about 20, I asked God to bring to my memory at least one joyous moment connected with my father. Immediately, and quite unexpectedly I remembered it.
It was in our room. (We lived in one room, my grandmother in the other, and we shared the kitchen). Suddenly I see a bright sunlight spreading around the room. My father is laughing out loud, throwing me in the air, and catching me in his arms, when I fall down. This is the only memory, when I don't fear him, when he is sober, and when his eyes are crystal clear blue. Like mine. I laugh out loud, falling gently into his arms. This is the first moment in my life, when I can thank my Father in heaven for my earthly father.
My father was an alcoholic. He left me and my mom, when I was few years old. Since then I saw him twice.
In my early twenties I visited him. But that's another story...
Today I don't even know if he is alive.