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It was a night like any other one: my brother and I were sitting at the table while daddy was hurting mommy. Daddy was always different when he returned from the bar. Then he smelled like beer, often became very angry and didn’t call mommy sweetie anymore, but stupid cunt. He hit her a lot, too. That’s why she had so many bruises. That made mommy cry a lot. When I told daddy I didn’t like it that he and mommy were fighting all the time, he said that happened with all mommies and daddies. Sometimes they just had to fight. But when I told my friends at school about it, they all said their daddy was kind to their mommy. My daddy hit mommy almost every day, so I thought it was weird that that didn’t happen in other families. Did my friends’ daddies do that when they weren’t around, then? Or were they just all lying about it? And how come it was always daddy who got mad at mommy? It never happened the other way around. Mommy was always kind to daddy, daddy only when he hadn’t had too much to drink. But daddy liked to drink; he liked it a little too much. He knew that that wasn’t a good thing himself: he called it the only mistake he had ever made in his life. When I asked him why he started drinking, he told me that after I was born mommy suddenly had to work at weekends to earn enough money. Being home alone made him feel lonely, so he just went to his friends at the bar instead. So in fact it was all because of mommy and me.
He told his friends all kinds of bad things about mommy, but he never mentioned how he treated her. That’s why everyone in the neighbourhood believed mommy was a bad person and that daddy was the victim. Only few believed mommy’s side of the story when they had heard daddy’s version first. Not that mommy told a lot of people: she felt ashamed of what she had to go through every day. At school my teachers didn’t know daddy beat mommy, but they knew he drank. For Father’s Day I had to make a drawing of something that daddy liked, but I couldn’t think of anything else than a glass of beer. He liked that more than his wife or kids, I thought. My teacher didn’t like that idea, so I just drew some penguins instead, something I liked myself.
Daddy definitely had his good traits, otherwise mommy would’ve never fallen in love with him. When he wasn’t drunk he was funny and kind, but he was more often drunk than sober. I want to be a daddy when I’m older too, but I don’t want to be like my daddy. Although daddy said it happened in every family, I don’t want to be like that when I grow up. I’ll never drink beer, then I will always be funny and kind and I’ll never have to beat my children’s mommy. Seeing mommy in pain is not fun. Sometimes it was dangerous, too: she’s been in hospital a couple of times. I just really wish daddy would stop drinking, but I know that’ll never happen. He’s promised us a few times, but he has never kept that promise.
Meanwhile daddy had gone upstairs and left mommy on the floor crying. I went up to her to kiss her goodnight. She held me tightly and whispered: “Promise me you’ll never have too much to drink.” I nodded and went to my room, knowing that this would all happen again tomorrow.