After the seven-day ski trip without snow and skiing, the bus entered my city again. I tried to be creative and somehow stretch in a new way, but nothing worked for my sore muscles. We were in a bus for more than 30 hours. On the way to the downtown bus parking lot we passed beside my house.
‘Home again. Is he sober now? Seven days ago he was…So there is a chance. Or not. Who can predict what he’ll do?’ I shuffled in a seat and my chest hurt. ‘There is no car in the driveway. Mom is waiting for me downtown, for sure.’ Few minutes later the bus driver shut the engine off. Bags and jackets were being taken out of the overhead compartments and people competed who would exit the bus first, as it were on fire or as if one pound of gold would be given to the first person out.
“Look, your mom is there. I don’t see my folks so probably she’ll drive me home.”, Luka said while grabbing his rucksack. Through the window I glanced at her face. I felt the tightness leaving me. ‘ She looks rested and cheerful. Probably he is not drinking at the moment.’
Upon stepping out of the bus the sea breeze touched my face. Our city had a mild climate even during the winter. I hugged my mom, happy that she was ok. While on the ski trip, I managed to call only once to tell her we arrived safely. Not knowing for a week of what’s happening at home scared me and now I was glad to see her in one piece.
We dropped Luka home. Now alone in the car, feeling as if the two of us were about to talk about national secret, I turned to her: ” How’s dad?”
“He started yesterday.” she said looking straight ahead. As soon as the wheels came to a stop in the driveway, I exited the car. I grabbed my suitcase. I didn’t look around. I gritted my teeth. ‘ I won’t even ring the door bell for you.’ The picture of my dad was in my mind. My right hand went for the door handle. I opened it and the warm air heated by the radiators hit me. ‘Hmm, it’s too silent.’ I stepped in. From behind I couldn’t hear mom, probably she was still in the car. I took another step. A sound: cling-clink. I leaned over to peer into the living room. Crouching and silently moving like a snake, my dad was in front of the bottom drawer of our wardrobe. His motions were precise, calculated and intentionally muffled. He wasn’t aware of me. Peering over his shoulder I saw it: a bottle, half empty with yellowish content.
‘It must be brandy. He thinks it’s hidden well. Ha! Now he’ll see it’ With the speed of the lightning bolt I turned on my heels: ” Mom! Moom!” Dad jumped up. “Mom! come quickly!” She came through the door. “Dad is hiding his booze here” I pointed the finger to the drawer. He looked at my eyes: ” You betrayer! You are Judas!”
“Be quiet, you bastard!” my mom replied to him, shoulders and neck erected for the battle.
I looked as if through him after I realized what it was he named me. For the moment it felt like he wasn’t a real person. Like he was made up and would disappear. I turned and walked towards my room. ‘Did he really say that? Yes, he did.’ I closed the door gently and sat on the bed. On the sofa opposite, my cat yawned.