Monday, February 11, 2008
Excerpt from "My Life Sucked..." by A. Dacosta Brathway
I never thought of my life being rough, considering my high school experiences, until I was told that I had to be signed out of school. My mother, who was livid when she found out she had to sign me out, threatened to send me to live with my father. The trick was that we had to find out where he was to know where to send me!/ I remember it being a frantic search... My mother called every family member she had a number for to see if they knew of his where-a-bouts. When all else failed, she had me to scour every bar in the 'hood. After several days, I finally found him sitting on the last stool of the last bar I searched. He was drunk and did not know who I was when I raised his head off the bar. After a brief struggle, I finally got his house keys out of his pocket, then tried to get him to tell me where he lived. He must have given me about fifteen addresses before the bartender confirmed which address was the correct one./ When I got him home, there was debris everywhere. There were newspapers all over the floor... Damn near everywhere I stepped there were dead roaches. They were dead because there was no food in the house. There was no garbage in the garbage cans or in the refrigerator. The man did not eat... Nor did he feed his roaches! There was, however, plenty of empty liquor bottles laying around. Maybe that's why there were no mice around... All the booze was gone! I dropped him on his unmade bed and took his work boots off. Man his feet stunk! The race between his breath and his feet was a close one! After getting him in a position on the bed where i could be sure that he would not fall out of it, I started looking around his apartment for pictures, letters, or some sort of momento that would give me a clue as to who my father was. He left my mother when I was three years old so I never lived with him. Every now and then he would send my mother some money but I could see that most of his cash went to buying spirits and cigarettes. My dad smoked like a chimney in a farm house on a cold winter's night. He would light a fresh one with a spent one. I knew that because there was only one match, in the ashtray by his bed, burried under twenty cigarette butts! The apartment was sparsely furnished. He did not look like he needed much. He went to work, then the bar, then home. The cycle was endless... I did not find anything of real value in his apartment but I did notice that his work boots were all polished and lined up in his closet. His work pants all had sharp creases and were very clean. My father was an electrician and I was told that he was a very good one. He was known for his fearlessness around live wires, which was evident by the burns in the palms in his hands. He could pull cable with the best of them. He was a tall man with a strong build. His laugh was loud and hearty. He laughed like a content drunk! As I stood there and stared at him sleeping and snoring like a car with a busted muffler, I wondered... If I could live with my dad and keep him sober, would he teach me his trade because after getting kicked out of high school? I wondered because there was no way I was going to be able to go to college!