I woke up on a mattress, on a floor, with a thin sheet covering me. I was cold and I didn’t know where I was. It was a house but it wasn’t home. I vaguely recall the screaming and being shoved into a car in the middle of the night. Tears were rolling down my mothers face. She was too drunk to drive but she did it anyway.

I heard her talking to another woman in this strange house. She was too weak to leave and yet to strong to take more abuse. She stayed anyway. She stayed because the abuse was familiar and freedom and change were not. The words I pleaded for her to embrace for many years she feared. She cowered from them.

I stayed still that morning, on that mattress, on that strangers floor. I thought if I stayed still I would be safe and if I moved then it would mean going back to the hell hole we called home. She moved, and the moment was over. The safe feeling gone.

The car we got back into smelled like cigarettes, booze and fear. You know the smell of fear? Its metallic like blood and cold like darkness. Darkness is not my friend. Everything bad happens in darkness. Fists fly and venom is spewed from the mouths of those who are supposed to love and care for you. Darkness fell that night, the sun rose and we went back to the hole we came from.

Nothing changed except for the anger. It intensified if that was possible and it would continue to build for years after that night. There would be more, I knew and yet there would be nothing I could do about it. I was nine years old. It’s now forty years later and its like it happened yesterday.

I still feel the coldness of that night and I can smell the stench of that car. I look back on it like pulling back a curtain to watch a secret movie, that nobody knows about. I remember for a reason. Not what you expect. I remember so that I can show you it matters what you do when it comes to your children. The entire way of your life can be steered in loving light or in hate and anger.

You can easily choose for yourselves. If you have children and can hear my words, I beg of you, not to make memories like this for your babies. If they are two or ten they will remember the experience that you are handing to them. In your drunken stupor it may seem funny at one point but you are handing them a plate full of uncertainty and fear that will mold the way they see life.

Mom always used to say wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one gets full fastest. She was right, because the shit piled up for years and the wishes got lost in the booze. It didn’t have to be that way, but that’s the way it went.

I have changed my stars , as they say. I found a much easier way. Although I occasionally slip back I always regroup.  I write these words to touch the lives of those who question their value. If you are walking this path you don’t have to. Get out, I beg of you get out now and let your soul experience a different fate. Feel the light surround you and what you dream of being. Wish in one hand and watch the wishes grow in the other.