By Aloysius Anthony
Malachy wakes me up. I rub my eyes as they burn with the fires of the sun. I hear raindrops pound on the roof. Why did you wake me Malachy? I ask. He looks at me and says, Dad wants to speak with you and me. The thoughts barely register before I hear the thumping noise of the door reveal Dad. I can see his lips start to open as if he is going to say something, but then he closes them. We stand there in the shadowed silence until Malachy breaks it with a taste of crossness, Mam says you left us to rot. I feel tears whisper down my cheeks and I don't know why.
No one talks. The tranquility feels worse than any pain I could ever imagine. You're staying here with us, right, I murmur. The quietness is starting to irk me now and I feel like I'm talking to nobody. Dad turns his head away from me and leans against the door. I smell no whiskey in his breathe.
I am your father, he says in a steady voice, I am your father. He looks me in the eyes and I look back. I see water near Dad's eyes. It must have been from the rain. He grips my hand tightly. I don't know what's going on, but I feel scared of it. Soldiers, Dad's voice hiccups and I'm afraid because he has stopped talking. The room is silent for a minute and my hand is starting to hurt. I try to pull it away, but he has too tight of a grip on it.
He starts talking again, "Remember me as I am, not of what I was." He then hugs me tightly and lets go. Dad gives Malachy a pat of the back. He steps towards the door and pauses to look at us. He then starts walking again and I can feel his footsteps pound against my heart. I feel an urge to run after him and hug him and love him. I stay put.