Bliss – Chapter Three

My bitterness made the final mouthful of wine taste foul. I felt the anger building in me; I was like water in a kettle, about to reach boiling point.

“Must be nice,” I mumbled to myself. Their mother saved lives; my mother took them — first she’d tried to take ours, but then she succeeded in taking her own.

“Dad saves lives too,” Luke added, countering his sister. “Remember all those people in that building with the fire damage? If he hadn’t inspected the place they would have been in it when it collapsed.”

“It was my job,” my father said modestly. False modesty, that’s all it was.

The culmination of this plus the praise from his doting children was the last straw. It also didn’t help that the alcohol had gone straight to my head by then.

“Has he started using you as an ashtray yet?” I said to no one in particular.

“Dakota, that’s enough,” Naomi said, putting a hand on my thigh under the table.

I shoved it away. No one, not even she, could stop me now. “I’ve got stories about him, too. Only no one gets saved. Which one would you like to hear first, huh? The one about the time he hit me so hard he dislocated my shoulder? Or the time he wouldn’t let me out of my room to use the bathroom, then he hit me when I wet myself?”

“Dakota, stop!” Dove said, glowering at me.

My dad put a hand on his arm. “No, leave it. She’s waited a long time to be able to do this. Let her.”

“I don’t need your fucking permission!” I was up now, screaming, rabid, ignoring my wife’s pleas for me to keep my voice down, that I would wake our children. I was too far gone. “How dare you sit there like nothing happened. You abused us every chance you got, you fucking monster!”

“And I’m more sorry than you’ll ever know,” he said, eyes down.

“Sorry? Sorry! You think that’s gonna change anything? You ruined my life! I was a mess; Dove was a mess. And you think you can just say sorry and make everything better?”

“That’s not what I’m trying to do, Dakota. I don’t deserve your forgiveness. I’m… I was everything you said I was. And when I found God I asked him to take me, because I knew that was what I deserved.”

I gawked at him in open-mouthed horror. “Are you trying to get sympathy from me?” I couldn’t believe it.

“No, lov— that’s not—-”

“You abuse me for eight years of my life, and you want me to feel sorry for you because you wanted to take yours? I wish you had!” I screamed. I picked up the jug of water, and before Naomi or anyone else could stop me, I threw it over him.

Shrieks abounded.

“Dakota, what the hell is wrong with you?” Dove shouted. Some of the water had hit him, which he deserved.

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