A Promise Kept
Excerpt from, When The Dust Settled
When I arrived home, I walked into a real mess. Mom was
passed out drunk on the couch. She had a beer in one hand and
a lit cigarette in the other. I carefully took the cigarette out of her
hand and disposed of it in the ashtray. It was 8:00 p.m., and none
of my brothers were around. I walked upstairs to see if they were in
their bedrooms. To my relief, they were all fast asleep. I went back
downstairs to help Mom to bed. As I grabbed the half-full beer from
her hand, she woke up. BLAM! She hit me with her haymaker. I
staggered backwards. She stood to her not-so-steady feet.
“Where the hell have you been, loser?” ‘You know I have reli-
gious class every Monday night. It’s been this way for the last
“Well, those classes can’t help ‘stupid.’ You are such a moron!
Why don’t you live with him? You work out with him every day.
If he is such a great friend, live with him!”
“No, this is where my brothers are. Don’t worry, I will be out
of here in a short time.” She charged toward me sticking her finger
in my face.”
“Well, moron, when you get kicked out of boot camp, you can’t
come back here!”
“What do you mean?”
“You won’t pass boot camp. You don’t have what it takes. Just
remember once you leave you can’t come back here.”
WHEN THE DUST SETTLED
She walked away from me and into the kitchen. I began to walk
to the basement when I felt something hit the back of my head. I
turned around to see what it was. It was the ashtray.
“What is your problem? Why do you hate me so much?” I felt
the back of my head. I could feel the blood running down my neck.
I looked down at my hand. My fingers were covered in blood. This
was too much. I began to cry. Not because I was hurt. It’s because
I was trying to make something out of my life. At every turn, she
had done something to hurt me.
She was standing there with a fresh alcoholic beverage in her
“I am going to bed.”
“Yeah, you do that, idiot!” I began to walk down the stairs. I
remembered I had an invitation for my ceremony. I walked back
upstairs. She had retreated to the living room.
“This is for you. It’s my ceremony at St. Mary’s.” I was standing
in front of her, trying to hand her the paper. She wouldn’t take it.
Growing impatient, I said, “I will put this by your purse. I want
you and the boys to be there.”
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