It was love at first taste when he sipped from the bottle. Their paths were destined to make a cross behind the curtain. Maybe this could make it right, maybe he would finally be able to stand up to Dad. His last hiding place was inside a drum till Dad found out and turned him into a drum. He watched Dad use Mom as a punching bag. Mom was beaten and pushed to the four corners of the ring-like wrestlers did on TV, but couldn’t leave because of the”for worse” she said before she wore the ring. He hoped Dad never wins a belt for that because it wouldn’t be different from the one that gave him scars.
Dad was beating him before he came into the world when he was still in Mom. That’s why she named him “Dreng”, she said he was the only survivor. He didn’t understand till he saw a crimson fluid unite at her feet. He wondered if it were a boy or a girl. The doctor said that was the last one, she couldn’t have another. Dad had pushed it out, shut the door, and broken the handle. Mom cried her eyes out that night. She spent that night in Dreng’s room and kept murmuring ” I wanted to name her “Hope”, I wanted a girl, someone to at least look like me”. She wrapped her hands around him, they laid like two criminals about to be executed. Dad came back home late that night, drunk as usual, looked for Mom and when he couldn’t find her, he stormed Dreng’s room and dragged her from the bed and said “you now sleep with him, he’s now your husband”. He started releasing punches on her. She kept crying and raining abuses on him. Dreng stood there watching the movie with different episodes and the same scene that kept replaying right in front of him but couldn’t feel too bad for Mom because he knew he was next. He wondered what shape the next mark on his body would be like. His friend said the last one looked like an alien in ” Ben 10″. It then occurred to him that he never wanted Hope to come into the world, he never wanted her to go through the same thing he did. The only hope he wanted was for a better life for him and Mom, a life without Dad.
He woke up one morning to no Dad. Mom said Dad got a new woman and baby. Feelings of both happiness and sadness crossed his mind. All he ever wanted was a father but all he got was a monster, and now he had none.”Is Dad going to come back?” he asked. She tried to smile while looking at him but her eyes spoke more, she was trying to hide a drop of tear in it from him. “Yes one day he will ” she replied, but that day never came. What came was the day he never thought of Dad anymore, but Mom never stopped thinking.
Mom grew bipolar, she had both extremes of love and anger. She called him good for nothing and said he looked like Dad. Maybe she was correct, the only thing Dad gave him was his voice. She hated and loved Dad at the same time and hated herself for feeling that way. She tried to make both ends meet, but couldn’t afford private schools so he went to a public one. He got called a trash can because he smelled of it. Had his best shirt used a rag because it looked like one. He still had good grades in Maths, it started from counting his scars till he lost count. He earned the “Dance Lord” title, it started from dodging the blows of Dad’s hand. He got beaten every day on his way from school till he could beat everyone in the crew. Mom told him not to follow the gang so he made up his mind not to follow but lead the gang. He was always the last in school but first to leave, turned his uniform into sleeves. He was never in class even when in class, and kept his head and hair high. He once got called a mistake by his principal so he waited after school, pulled her wig, and called it a mistake. He got punished, he was asked to weed but couldn’t see the grass because he was high on weed.
Mom brought a man home, she said he was an uncle but Uncle wasn’t uncle, uncles don’t stare too long at Mom’s behind. Mom should have explained “Uncle” because uncles don’t go to Mom’s room and leave their singlets behind. He picked it up and wrote “Lover, not uncle”. Mom’s face was covered with pain and guilt, she showed Uncle the door. Dreng dropped out of school at fifteen but didn’t mind because school teaches you how to live life but the streets show you how to stay alive. He fell in love with the club and street lights and got crowned “The King of the Streets”. He preserved the street’s culture, wore no suit or tie because they didn’t suit his style. He loved basketball and street raps like he was the rapper “2chainz” but wore no chains because they reminded him of his days in bondage. He was never seen in handcuffs only bandages because he was cut in every crime but never caught in the scene. He walked with his pants down so they knew his “kiss my butt” was literal.
He smoked two packets of cigarettes every day, went to the shows, and stole them with street rap. He didn’t go to church, grew tired of the same sermons, and listening to bible carrying sinners that judged him by what they heard as they did to everyone in the hood. All eyes on him, he got a broad shoulder and segmented abdominal muscles. He also got a cute face. He only waved “hi” and she almost missed her period. He saw Mom cry, but this time for him, not Dad, she had discovered his Paris behind the curtain. He followed Dad’s love legacy, except that he practiced polygamy, he loved all the brands equally.
He woke up one morning with a slight headache. All he could remember was the previous night’s intoxication. He heard Mom’s scream and a man’s voice. There were only two people in the world he knew with that voice, him and Dad and it wasn’t him. He ran into Mom’s room to the back of a tall hairy broad-shouldered man. He was the heir to that frame. The look on the man’s face was a confirmation but what made it more valid was Mom’s black eyes veiled with tears.
Standing right in front of him was his worst nightmare, the picture still freshly imprinted in his mind, as vivid as he could recall. He was the glass that framed it and got smashed till he was scattered. He was the broken glass that the painter forgot to sweep and unfortunately stepped on. So he did what broken glasses do, he walked up to Dad and beat the crap out of him. He heard his Mom scream, “Stop that now, he is still your dad”, but Dad wasn’t his dad, Dad only happened to be in the same bed with Mom the day he was conceived and that doesn’t make him dad. Dad was trembling, gripped with fear and confusion, that was exactly what he wanted. He wanted Dad to feel the same way he felt when he was five.
Dad left the next morning, this time leaving a letter behind. Dreng found it behind the curtain when he went to make love to the bottle. He took it and sat with his back against the wall. Monsters aren’t created but made, however who could unmake Dad aside the monster he made. He used the paper to roll a blunt. He was it, an open letter addressed to one person, yet seen by all. He was the puppy no one tamed but nourished with hate and so grew wild and came back to bite their babies. He was an open letter, all could see but only a few could read.
Seven years ago he wanted to become a doctor and heal the world. Now he only feels like one when he does drugs. He was his doctor when he took hard drugs and yet the patient, he needs all the possible healing in the world. He lit up the blunt, inhaled it, and gave out the smoke. It was a toast to all the broken kids in the world.
They don’t apologize when they cut you but you have to forgive so you may heal, else you become them.