The Struggle | Teen Ink

The Struggle

June 16, 2013
By liow.veronica GOLD, San Ramon, California
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liow.veronica GOLD, San Ramon, California
11 articles 14 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I will not set myself on fire to keep you warm."

I lie on my bed, staring at the numerous pictures which are now only memories.

I am in a time of misery. Each and every one of those photos are a part of me, and currently, I am reminiscing them.

Ahh, there's the one where I got my first pet, Lucy. She was my first dog --until my dad ran her over with his car. I can almost hear the bones cracking and the yelp Lucy made when the shiny red metal clashed into her soft fur.

Then there was my first birthday party with my friends...sort of. You see, my dad was supposed to mail the letters out, but he sort of ditched the errand and bought booze. I was left alone with my friends, all of whom were imaginary.

The memory of my dog was destroyed by him. The memory of my my first birthday party and all the others after it were destroyed by him. Everything was destroyed by him.

Hah! And I almost regretted doing this. Almost.

At least those times were decent. As I said, I am in times of misery. Why, you ask?

My mother left me. She made a big leap into a new world, one without me.

So I'm stuck with this foul-smelling man I call my father, the man who abused me, the man who slapped me, the man who dared to kick me, the man who left permanent scars –both physically and emotionally.

These thoughts run through my head as I wait for the effects to kick in.

Maybe I should write a note, but it's not like anyone would notice. I don't have any friends or close relatives that love me enough to take me in. I don't have anyone.

A random surge of dizziness takes me by surprise as I sit up. The pills must be working. Honestly, I don't have any preference to how I would die. Pills just remind me of my beloved brother, who took them to cure his terribly sore throat. It's a happy thought knowing that someone you love is out there living their life to the fullest.

Only problem is that my mother took him and not me. Seven months have passed, and I am still waiting.

But now I'm tired of it. I can't wait any longer. I need it to end quickly.

And this is my only solution.

I woke up to sun's warm rays shining down upon my face and the sound of the chitter chatter of the birds.

This could only mean one thing -- it didn't work. My attempt at finally escaping this lifestyle didn't work.

"Damn it!" I muttered harshly under my breath.

This is all too frustrating. Last time it didn't work because I didn't swallow enough pills. This time, I'm pretty sure I swallowed an enough. I took up two whole bottles for crying out loud!

Suddenly, a thought ran through my mind; my father always had a strong immune system. It's the only reason why he hasn't died from the excessive amount of drugs he's taken. I sighed. Stupid genetics. I should go take a nice little stroll through the woods. Maybe it'll clear my head for a little while.

Too bad I have to wait for my dad to wake up, torment me, get high, then fall over. He doesn't go looking for me when he wakes up. He waits for me to come to him.


Because every time I come to him, I hope he's the father he used to be.

The wooden floor creaked with each step I took. The hallway was covered with empty beer bottles --some broken, some still fully intact.

"Dad? Are you there? Dad, are you back?" I waited silently for a response. An abrupt pain hit the back of my head. I screamed as I collapsed on the floor.

"Don't call me that; you have absolutely no right to call me your father," he bellowed. "You disgust me."

Droplets formed beneath my eyes. They trickled down my face, crashing towards the floor and creating a puddle. I shouldn't be crying. This has happened several times. I should be used to it, but the thing is -- I'm not. I still have emotions; it's not as if they have completely disappeared. Someone may say that this is a sign of weakness. I, however, view this as a sign of love.

After everything he's done, I still love him. He's my father after all. Even if my respect for him has gotten diminutive, my love is still there.

I wiped my tears with the cotton sleeves of my sweater. It had become dirty -- the sweater. My closet held no clothes clean enough for me to wear. Some have been worn out. Others have been chewed upon by the collection of dirty mice living in our attic.

Walking towards my parent's room did not help me at all. Every picture on the wall contained memories, ones I did not want to see. Believe me, they're beautiful memories, but the thought of them will cause the waterworks to fall yet again.

I tried to ignore these memories creeping up in the back my head by holding back the tears. It was a lousy attempt, and I'm sure I could have done better, but it was too late. The tears streamed down once again dangling at my chin.

And that's when the flashback started.

The warm radiant sun swept upon my face as I smiled for the first time.

My convivial mother turned towards me with a smile that beamed with joy. "Isn't it beautiful?"

I simply nodded for I was too dazed by the hypnotizing glare of the sun's colorful rays. The pool of red and yellow clashed together to create an amazing glow of orange that danced ever so lightly across the sky. The deep purple overhead surrendered to the advancing column of westward-marching blue, warning the roosters it's high time to wake the world for the day's battles.

I broke away from the photo and walked towards my parent's room. Looking through my mom's closet filled me with happiness. Every piece of fabric from cloth to silk filled me with joy. I loved touching my mom's clothes and jewels.

It made me feel like she was still here.

Quickly, I picked out a flowy white dress. It fit me perfectly. I admired myself in the mirror. My wavy blonde hair flowed down to my waist.

That's funny, I thought. It's grown quite a lot since the last time.

I have small curves, those of which are barely noticeable. The white dress amplified them. This dress made me look healthy. I looked healthy and happy. I imagined that my mom was just outside, going on a trip to the mall or maybe Costco. My brother, Patrick, was still here. He was still sitting on the stairs, playing with his dolls, or as he calls them "action figures". I imagined that my dad was sober, and that he still had his job. There were no debts. We were one big happy family.

My heart felt warm and I continued to twirl around, giggling at the way the dress would fly up and down. All this stopped when my dad appeared at the front of the doorstep. My smile faded. Once again I was reminded that my life wasn't all that happy. My mom, if on any trip at all, was on a permanent one.

"What do you think you're doing?" my dad shouted.

I gulped, knowing that the best way to respond was silence, for there was nothing I else I could say that wouldn't be used against me.

"What the hell do you think you're doing, Willow? You think you have the privilege to wear your mother's dress? You're nothing compared to her. Don't even try," he continued.

"Dad, I'm going out for a walk. Would you like to come along?" I asked, trying to change the subject.

He snorted. "Go alone, but I know you're lying. You're going to run away too and leave me here to die. I just know it."

"Dad, I really am just going for a walk. I would like you to come along with me."

"Well, I don't want to. Willow, our lives aren't as perfect as it used to be. Ever since I lost my job, we've been nothing but a complete mess. I'd be better off without you," he glared at me. "Go ahead."

I sighed. Maybe it's hopeless after all.

I would never get my old dad back.

I took one last glance at my father. He only returned the look with a nasty scowl, as expected. I stepped onto the porch and greeted the sunshine like an old friend. Blue birds chirped repeatedly, hoping to attract the attention of everyone with their beauty. I closed my eyes to absorb my surroundings.

If only everyday was like this.

I hummed the tune the birds were singing and skipped towards the creek behind the woods. The prickly grass met with my bare feet. My nose filled with the smell of fresh mulch mixed in with the fragrance of roses and daisies. It was welcoming; there was no point denying it.

Finally, I heard the sound of splashing water. As I was about to approach the creek, I came to a halt. A boy with brown hair was standing there. He seemed to be staring off in the distance, letting his mind wander just like the water as it flowed south.

He turned around and stared in my direction. What was he looking at? Was he staring off into the distance? It took me a few seconds to realize he was looking at not something, but someone.


Nonetheless, I still turned around, hoping that he's staring at some magical being behind me. It felt strange having him stare at me. It just felt strange in general to have someone to stare at me so calmly after being so used to the glares from my father.

"Yes, you. I can see you. It's not very hard with that white dress flowing in the wind," he said smoothly.

I sighed, acknowledging the fact that I've been discovered. "Hi," I said quite shyly.

He walked up to me and stook out his hand. "I'm Dakota!" he smiled. "And you are?"

"Willow. Odd name. Two syllables. Not interesting. Uncommon. Willow."

He chuckled and his bright smile shined throughout. It was so welcoming. I've never had someone smile at me--or well, at least not in a long time.

"Dakota. Three syllables. Can be male or female. Sometimes when mentioned, thought to be a girl," he replied.

I snorted. He had a point. "You win."

"So why are you here?"

"I should be asking you that," To my amazement, I laughed. "I've come here to take a stroll, away from my dad. Sometimes, I just need a break."

"From what?"

I found myself venting my thoughts and sharing my personal experiences. "My drunk father," I replied. "My mom left us at a young age. By us, I mean just me and my dad. She took my brother, though. The drunk father package comes with being abused, both physically and verbally. Lucky me."

"That must be horrible. I can't say I know how you feel. I mean, my mother left me but my father never became abusive. Even though I can't understand your pain, I can at least listen," he touched my shoulder. "If you ever need a friend, I'm there."

"We're friends?"

He nodded.

"Actually," I continued.'That's a bad idea. You might not want to be friends with someone who's going to commit suicide soon."

"Why would you commit suicide?"

"Did you not just hear me? I have a horrible life and it's not like anyone will even notice if I'm gone. No one will care," I said.

"I will."

I woke up the next morning without a single thought of suicide in my mind. All traces of that were gone. Today, I did not go to my father to see if he was back to normal. I had Dakota. I didn't need my dad anymore. With a smile that shined brightly on my face, I went to the creek.

I sat down on the grass, staring at the sunrise. Still so beautiful. I thought. I waited for Dakota.

Fifteen minutes. Thirty minutes. One hour. My heart was racing. Where was he? He couldn't have abandoned me, right? He never would. Still, in the back of my head, the thought of being abandoned lingered around.

Maybe I was in denial.

I took a deep breath. "You're just being paranoid," I calmed myself down. "You came here early after all. Be patient."

And again, I waited. Three hours. Five hours. Eight hours. Too much time. I couldn't take it anymore. He was never going to come. He only enjoyed raising my hopes and letting them crash down.

Thoughts of suicide swam back into my mind. My head jerked towards the creek.

I could drown.

It's not very deep. I thought. But maybe if I lay on my back..

I couldn't finish the thought as I plummeted into the creek. I let myself fall inside death's hands, welcoming it. Slowly, I relaxed, closed my eyes and let myself drift off into another world.

"Willow. Willow! Wake up!" I heard a voice say as something slapped my cheek repeatedly. "It's me, Dakota. Sorry for being so late. Now please, just please wake up," he pleaded.

My eyes bolted open fast enough to startle him.

"Hi," I said meekly.

He sighed in relief. "Hello, beautiful."

I felt the warmth in my cheeks as it grew red.

It turned about ten more shades of red as he grabbed my hand and our fingers locked in place perfectly. And in that moment I felt something I haven't in a while.


Willow's life went completely uphill from there.

Dakota helped her through her depression;she was soon nothing but a package of bubbly happiness. He talked her into settling the dispute between her and her dad. If it worked out, great! If she was kicked out of the house, he offered to let her stay with him inside the apartment in which his loving family lived.

She had a restraining order approved from the judge against her father. Once in a while, she'd talk to him on the phone wondering how he has been. After several months of fighting his need for alcohol, he stopped drinking because he realized how much he missed his little girl.The restraining order was lifted and they lived together in a place where abuse was nonexistent.

Her mom came back too -- along with her brother of course. They lived happily, as did Willow's family after her marriage with Dakota, her soulmate.

She had 3 children -- identical twin daughters and a son.

Penny, had ecstatic lively blue bubbly eyes which came from half of Willow's personality. She was the "smart one" of the family. If those she had great care for were bullied,, she'd stand up for them making her an easy friend to get along with. That was the main perk that gave her the quality of gaining popularity easily.

The other twin was Willow's other half. Anastasia (preferably Ana) was dark, empty, full of witty comments, and had brown eyes like her father. She was stubborn, and didn't like to be around people. Instead, she preferred the accompaniment of animals. Whenever she felt lonely, she'd go to the little creek to feed ducks. They trusted her, as did the birds, and bunnies, and geese, and well, I think you know what I mean.

Oliver had blue eyes. He came in a pack of bubbly enthusiasm along with witty comments to stop anyone from finding out he is actually transgender. A female inside a male's body -- and his family was okay with that. They accepted him. They loved him. They didn't care he use to be Molly; they cared that now he was Oliver. And nothing could change that.

Although Dakota died earlier than Willow by 11 years, Willow was fine. She wasn't too heartbroken. She had a lovely life thanks to him. Everything she could ever think about doing had be accomplished. She was happy.

Willow died when she was 97. She laid peacefully in the coffin beside her husband.

When the man who worked in the graveyard came to check up on the bodies to see if they were decomposing well, he was confused. Last time, he remembered their bodies weren't holding hands. By the power of love, they somehow joined hands together. Their fingers as always intertwined as if they were perfect for each other. But why?

Because they aree perfect for each other.

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