I had a shitty day at work today. I at the gas station, I saw a couple fight over whether or not they should buy some formula for their kid or fill up another gallon of gas for their car.
Apparently, they were trying to drive to the guy's parent's house because the couple's apartment burnt down.
Anyways, the gas station I work at was in a bad neighborhood, so behind the bulletproof glass, you can't really come out to stop the riff-raff from getting too rowdy,
so you have to sort of sit there and tersely implore them to please keep it down; but of course, they never listen.
I mean, who listens to a worker who doesn't even have the courage to talk to you face-to-face?
Anyways, in the end, the man drove with their baby, and left the girl behind.
From what I saw, the girl's arms were covered in track marks,
and the conversation implied that their apartment burnt down because she fell asleep with a cigarette in her hand which she lit because she ran out of heroin.
The newborn must have been affected by the smoke, since the boyfriend (or husband) said that he ran into through the flames of their burning home in order to get their baby out.
He emphasized that he could only find their baby girl because of how loud she was crying. It really helped me appreciate the beautiful family that I come home to every night.
So, when I got off of my shift, and I opened up the door to our cozy little home,
the sun was peeking out and illuminated our little yard with the sunflowers my daughter planted with her mother last year.
I really wanted to see our little girl off before she went to school today, but since I worked the night shift, I usually ended up falling asleep on the couch trying to wait for her to wake up.
However, as the door opened up that night, it creaked quite loudly, and as I looked inside to our kitchen to my left of the door,
and the staircase to the right which lead to the bedrooms upstairs, I saw my wife sitting by the kitchen table. She looked absolutely livid.
"Where were you?" She asked in an angry, yet quiet voice (as not to wake up our daughter).
"I just got off of my shift. You know that honey." I said softly, hoping she would calm down.
"You know that the bank called today? They said that our joint account was over drafted, because of a payment at Potawatomi; again."
"Honey, I can expl-"
"No. You explain to Alexa how her college fund is gone," She interjected, "And that the mortgage payment is going to be late AGAIN for the third time in a row."
"I do this for you and my little angel upstairs, I swear, I'll make another hundred like I did last time and-"
"Lose another thousand?" Tears filled her eyes. "Why won't you get help? We…" She covered her face trying not to let herself cry too hard and wake up our daughter.
"Alexa and I took you to the session last time.
We had to tell her that we were playing a role for a movie, and I remember that lie choked you up so much that we thought that the session with the therapist would help your addiction!
We thought that you'd… you'd…" she could barely speak due to the overwhelming helplessness within her.
"Honey, I got paid today. Look!" I said as I gave pulled out the $500 check I made for this week's work. "I even worked overtime so that we could pay off everything!"
"Stop shouting." She said as quietly as she could. Her face was almost violet with how much she was crying. "You know that will only make a dent in the debt you've accumulated.
You know that they're going to take the car, right? Alexa won't be able to go to daycare after school anymore.
How on Earth am I supposed to take care of her while I'm at work? You'll surely be at your real job bright and early with your one friend: that damn blackjack dealer!"
I started to get a bit angry. "I just got off of a twelve-hour shift working overtime for this money, and I come home to this?!? You know how hard I have to work?"
"You wouldn't have to work so hard if you prioritized your family, and not your fucking sisters, who haven't worked a day in their life!"
I froze. Nobody talks about my family like that. The family that I had to support working numerous odd end jobs back in Israel. The moment she mentioned my sister, I wasn't at my house anymore.
I was back in Israel thirty years ago, beating a homeless man who was late on paying his loan shark. Saw how much blood I had on my hands after hitting that wrinkled old man.
His high-pitched cry caused my ears to ring as he threw crumpled bills he kept in the donation bin he had set up.
I felt how sore my hands for days, but that beautiful smile on my kid sister's face when I brought home bread from her favorite baker was enough to get me through those days.
I always denied whatever crumbs she offered me, even though I hadn't eaten for days; because I never wanted that life for her.
But unfortunately, as I relived that low point of my life I hadn't seen my beautiful wife, who was pouring her heart out to me.
Israel had faded away from my eyes, I found myself looking at my hands. I looked at the blood on my old wrinkled, veiny hands. I looked at my once beautiful wife's then bruised, bloody face.
I felt my hands and how soaked they were in as much tears as there was blood. She couldn't even look at me. She was in the fetal position, believing that this time beating would be the last.
That I would finally beat her to death for talking about my family like that… but I would never harm the love of my life… I mean… I didn't mean to…
As I slipped back into reality, I noticed that the wooden dining chair that she was sitting on earlier was broken.
Bits of the ceiling crumbled onto her, as I noticed that the chair leg had flown off and broke a hole in the ceiling.
I looked at the love of my life in the eyes, and she finally gathered the courage to look at mine; the tears had finally stopped.
"Get out." She said as desperately as she could, but that time there was a darkness in her eyes that I had only seen in the security at the casino when I had ran out of money.
I wanted to say that I was sorry. I wanted to say that this was the last time that I would hit her. That I would go to the meetings again.
That I would take a day off and spend it with Alexa and her like I did years ago when our mortgage was fully paid.
I wanted to say that I was sorry, that I put our house on a mortgage to play a few hands of blackjack. I wanted to apologize again for taking Alexa's college fund for a card game.
I just wanted to pay off her future college tuition with that game, and I would have won, I would have given both of them the world, but no.
I knew that she wouldn't believe me… just like last time when I tried to tell her all of those same promises. At that moment, the paycheck that I had offering her slipped out of my hands.
It slowly floated left and right, left and right, left and right until it finally touched the ground which was tarnished with blood.
My car keys had also fallen on the ground with a clang, and I walked towards the door.
Before I left, I took a moment to glance back at my love,
but I had seen Alexa on the staircase clutching the teddy bear that I bought her on her 4th birthday calm her first day on her first day of school last month. Alexa was terrified.
She was wondering why her mother was crying again, why there was ketchup on her mother's face was again, why her mother's "disease" kept giving her purple bruises all over her body.
Tears were quickly filling Alexa's eyes, and she began to run as quickly as her tiny feet could down the stairs towards me, her loving father, trying as hard as she could not to stumble.
However, her mother tried sprinted towards Alexa, but she could only limp towards our daughter trying as hard as she could to hold her back.
At that moment, I couldn't stand to look at them any longer; my heart was tearing apart. It took all of my being to walk outside and close the door.
At that moment I reached into my pocket, only to remember that my keys were gone, but I then heard the clunk of the door lock from my love.
I completely turned around, with tears welling up in my eyes for the first time since I left Israel.
I looked into the house through the small window on the door, but I could only see my daughter being hugged by her mother.
I saw little Alexa wiping the tears out of her mother's eyes as her blue onesie was became tainted with my mistake.
When I saw the red blood meet with the purity of her blue onesie, I realized that I wasn't welcome. I had to win them back. I had all I needed.
I only had a roll of quarters for Alexa's milk money, but I knew it was more than enough to turn it into her life's savings.
I wiped the tears off of my face and I walked as quickly as I could away from my home with my head held high towards the casino. "Luck is on my side this time" I thought to myself.
"My family's livelihood depends on this. I can't lose, no I won't lose, not this time. I may have locked myself out tonight but this time, things will be different.
I'm going to win, no I will win. I must… I must…." I muttered to myself, as I walked off into the morning light.