Things weren’t too bad for the first month or so. Father kept to himself for the most part. I took over the cooking and cleaning from momma and I didn’t have to see him too much. He’d expect dinner to be on the table when he’d come back from the still in the evening and he’d eat his food without a word. It suited me just fine.
As for momma, it turned out that he’d taken her to the mortician in town and had her buried in the cemetery not far from our house. I was angry that there had been no funeral but when I brought it up one time he told me to never talk about it again else I’d get a beating. I was so angry I didn’t talk to him for two days.
Three days after she was buried I woke one night to the smell of smoke and when I looked out the window I saw him at the old barrel in the yard we use to incinerate stuff. He had taken her clothes and some other things and was out there throwing stuff in the fire and pouring whisky on it. I ran into the bedroom and grabbed most everything he hadn’t taken yet and hid it all under my mattress. I never said a word to him about what he’d done.
I still take her stuff out and look at it when he’s not around. I saved one picture of her. She’s wearing her yellow checked dress with the lace around the neck. She always looked so pretty in it. I also have some of her books and her hairbrush. Momma liked to read about natural history and such. I have a book about birds and one about mushrooms and a big one about trees. I cherish these things. They give me strength.
Soon after I took to visiting her grave once in awhile but he found out about it and cursed a blue streak at me. Told me I was to stop my foolishness and get on with things. After that I’d go whenever I was sure he wouldn’t know. There was no way I wasn’t going to visit her.
When he wasn’t busy with the whisky he’d hang around the house, something I always dreaded. One day he was out sitting on the porch and I heard him talking real low. I thought he must be talking to himself but when I peeked through the window I saw one of the local dogs had come nosing around the house. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was petting that dog and talking to it like it was little kid or something. I believe it was the only time I saw him do something that touched my heart. I didn’t dare let on, he would have been mad.
Like I said, things weren’t too bad for the first month or so but after that he began to drink heavy. Sometimes he wouldn’t come home till late and then he’d get real angry because his food was cold. Tell me I was no damn good just like my mother. Most of the time I’d just go to my room and cry. I can’t remember all the times I wished him dead.
Part 3 Tomorrow