Lani's family seems perfect on the outside, but her bipolar Dad makes life anything but. In search of "Normal," the family goes on a road trip-turned-relocation that turns their lives upside down forever.
Buffered under my fortress of blankets, I’m safe; no one can harm my soul here. Here, I can pretend I’m a normal girl. That my life won’t follow his path.
My heart races, while my throat tightens. The sound of the Dragon in full rage-mode makes me wish I had magical powers one reads about in fantasy novels. Unfortunately, I’m nowhere near that lucky. No, I’m just a sixteen-year-old girl with a dragon for a father, that’s all. Dad didn’t earn that nickname tucking us in and reading bedtime stories every night. That’s for sure.
“Shut up, Mel, I swear if you don’t—” “Patrick, please. Not tonight.” My parents’ words collide outside my door, and I scoot further under the covers. It’s highly unlikely they’ll make an appearance in my room, but you never know. When the Dragon’s loose, anything’s possible. Dad’s not your stereotypical dragon, he’s just a man.
“Patrick, calm down.” Mom’s voice is only a whisper. Still, it echoes in my room.
Oh, Mom-- you’ve done it. Wish my blankets were made of steel.
“You can take your calm and shove it, Mel.” The smoke-and-fire Dad breathes when he’s behind closed doors is enough to make anyone hide under their bed.
The first time Mom tried to explain to me what bipolar was, it made no sense. By the 500th time, I wanted to yell. Just because a doctor says it’s a disease doesn’t make it any better.
Sometimes, it’s worse.
A moment...HA! If only. Life would be so much easier.
My breathing’s loud enough the neighbors down the street can probably hear. The soft cloth of my blankets surrounding my body like a cocoon gives me comfort. Funny how panic heightens every sense. Intense moments, my life’s full of them.
It’s never ok. It’s a never-ending rollercoaster, and there’s no exit to this ride.
Even at his worst, Dad’s never physically hurt me or my siblings. It doesn’t make a difference, I’m still scared crapless, every. single. time.
“You stupid cow, how could you forget? I told you I needed this done by TODAY!” Dad’s voice is at nuclear level now. Bet Mom forgot to do his laundry. Yup, it’s always something so simple. So easily fixable. To most people. A crash follows as something falls to the ground.
It’s begun. Halleluja. Soon. I’ll be able to sleep soon. If he’s becoming physical the end is near.
And usually, pain’s the only thing that eventually brings him back to reality once he’s fallen down the rabbit hole.
What will it be tonight? Will he knock himself unconscious headbutting a wall? Maybe he’ll shatter a few more hand bones punching a door; like he did last summer. As long as it happens sooner than later. We all breathe easier once he’s damaged himself.
The pain takes the terror away. For all of us. It’s like physical pain pulls him from a fog. A self absorbed-let’s-scare-everyone-even myself kind of fog. I peek out of my fortress and see the shadowy shape of my gym bag with my just-in-case clothes.