My heart is pounding hard and fast behind my chest. I’m short of breath, but cannot stop. Breathe Kesean. But I can’t slow down. 1-2 1-2 1-2-3. 1-3-2 3-1-2-3-3. I keep hitting the bag as if it will take all my problems away. I could never be so lucky.
Hours pass and I am still hitting my heart out in this gym. It’s getting harder and harder to even lift my arms high enough to swing. I shouldn’t be overworking my body this much, but I just can’t make myself stop.
Well, I don’t have to make myself stop because not even thirty seconds after I throw the last punch my legs give out on me. My body hits the cold gym floor. It doesn’t hurt, I’m used to collapsing on this floor. This was a normal day for me.
I spend nearly everyday of the summer in this gym. Pounding for hours at a time, letting out the anger, the hurt, the hate. Taking it all out on this eighty pound punching bag, one fist at a time.
I refuse to turn out like my father. I will not let myself lose so much self control. I can’t. It is not an option for me. Nor is it an option for my older brother Ky. Neither of us will throw away our families for a bottle of alcohol.
I was only four years old when it all started. He would come home from what he said was “work” and all hell would break loose. He was always drunk when he came home, and when he got here he would only continue to drink more. He would yell and I could hear things crashing against the walls or just straight to the floor. Eventually mom just stopped buying nice things because she knew he would just break them anyway.
Some nights were actually really good, not often, but sometimes. There were nights where he would come home early, even before mom was out of work. He would cook up a big dinner and surprise mom with flowers when she got home. If it was a really good day he would tuck us in to bed, maybe even read us a story before leaning in for a kiss on the cheek. Then he would get up and walk out the door, but before closing the bedroom door behind him he would whisper, “I love you” and then disappear into the darkness.
Like I said, those days were rare. Most of the time he would wake up the whole house, if not the whole block, when he came stumbling through the door in the middle of the night.
He never hit me or Ky though, just mom. But it never bothered him that his sons were watching, observing, and he never figured out the hatred he was stirring up in our young hearts. It’s been six years now since he was sent away. Six years that Ky and I have been on our own trying to take care of mom. Trying to keep her alive.
The last time he was with us he nearly killed her. He beat her until she just fell over. Kind of the way I beat the bag until I fall over. Only, mom was actually getting hit, not doing the hitting. He crashed a vase on her head and Ky ran outside, he told me to stay in the closet. When he came back there were three men with him. Policemen.
Dad went to prison, there’s no chance he will be out before he dies. Mom went to the hospital where she was in the Intensive Care Unit for over six months. When she was finally released, she went through group counseling, but that didn’t last too long before she gave up on that. She got into drugs, not just pot, like hard core drugs. I don’t know how she got her hands on the stuff but she’s not only addicted to cocaine and oxycontin but now she has this love for Ketamine.
So Ky has been raising me since the day that our father was arrested. And now him and I are working together to get mom healthy. It is a lot of stress and we miss out on a lot.
That is why I come here, to this gym. It has become my safe haven. My escape from the outside world. In here, no one judges, no hates, and no one asks questions. In here, it’s just me and this eighty pound punching bag.