Fallen Hero*

The young woman sat back as the father she once knew faded out of existence. The person that stood before her was a complete stranger. All the care and love that she had for the man she had once saw as her hero had diminished. Many times she had hoped that he would come around. She’s still waiting for that miracle. A miracle she felt would never come. Each day she saw that hope slip farther and father away.
Everything about her feelings towards her father had changed. The sight of his frail frame sent rage through her body; With every word he spoke and every breath he took it angered her. It only frustrated her more to be angry with someone who had completely given up on himself. She couldn’t make him care. At that point she saw no point in making him do so even if she could. For a year she saw the daily activity her mother had to endure. His “friends” stopping by as he walked out to their car to do his business only to come back into the house with the look of shame on his face. With his only income being a social security check she became accustomed to his routine. At the beginning of the month he’d help clean, cook and try to be talkative. For the rest of the month his days consisted of sitting in front of a television, wasting away, doing nothing, zoned out, depressed and completely alone. The young woman never spoke to him. She would walk around the house freely without saying a word. What could she say? If she were to finally speak her words would not be kind.
The day she lost all respect for her father was one of the few times in the year he was rushed to the hospital (again). His home away from home. While visiting him one day a counselor came in to speak with him about rehab. She felt a little hope in her heart. Finally! He was getting it. As she sat and listened to the discussion she soon realized it was all an act, as if to say “Look, I spoke with someone. Happy?” She was not happy. She was less happy to hear that the reason he started taking drugs in the first place was because he was “bored”. Bored? Bored?! His poor excuse set her on fire. He further went on to, “whine” as she called it, about how he never got thanked for doing work around the house and the little things he did all the while her mother worked obscene hours all week and this young woman attended both school and work full time. “Where was their thanks?” She thought. “You don’t get thanked for doing what you’re supposed to do as an adult”. Again. Poor excuse. She’d had enough.
 This former superhero had resorted to stealing from his loved ones, borrowing money only to ask for it back days after he paid it back and anything else you could imagine. It’s as if he didn’t notice the affect it had on the people who cared. The young woman had grown disgusted with people who claimed he had a disease. “Disease? You can’t put that in the same category with cancer or H.I.V.” She would say. “People have a choice if they want to indulge in alcohol or drugs. No one wakes up one day and think it would be it good idea to have cancer.” She stuck with her words. She didn’t care if her words hurt him. The young woman wanted him to hurt like she hurt.
 Although on the surface she appeared hardened, deep in her heart she still loved her father. He may not be the superhero to her as he once was, but she hoped that one day he could return to just being her dad. She knew that in her heart even if she was hurt and sometimes hated him there is no way possible she could hate him as much as he hated himself. All she could do is hope that he could one day forgive himself for taking his life down this road and begin anew. She’ll be waiting for that day to come, but for now it won’t be at his side.

-Asia Aneka Anderson

*I wrote this story last year after I got a firsthand look at my father's addiction. I called him out on it because I'd become overwhelmingly frustrated and disgusted by his continued use. I realized that I'd lost the person I knew was my father and the person in my life the past almost decade is actually a total stranger.

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