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YOU NEVER KNOW HOW LONG Another One Of Lifes Hard Lessons
by Andrew Snowbarger
Not For Sale
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JANUARY 27th 1996:
"Son, your mind is a whril wind of excuses...just tell me what really happened, and you might just get off easily?"

My dad has always been trying to use the annalogy's, sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn't. But then of course, thats not what mattered right now, all he wanted to know, was where i was last night, and i sure wasn't gonna tell him. And that is why i was in this sort of...silence game with my him, that i loved playing. But i don't think he liked it as much as i did.

"JAKSON DEL HEWIT!" Was all that he could say.

I couldn't hold myself back...

"YES!" I screamed back at him.

The smile started to creep onto my face, but when i saw my dads angry face still steering back at me, unchanging, i decided it would be smarter to drop the smart allick.

"I know what you did, just admit it, and get it over with" Was my dads reply.

I really don't get it when my parents say this too me. If they actualy knew what i did, why didn't they tell ME. Why did they haved to go through all this, when they already knew...idk. Maybe it was because they liked accusing you, and making you seem like the fool...but, i highly doubted that.

"Were you drinking again..."

He paused, searching my face for...something. i don't know what. All i did, was rool my eyes, and try to look away. But then he grabbed my head, and turned my face back, so he could stare me into the eyes, trying to do the stare down, i guess. Maybe he saw something...

"Awhh no...son, not again?" He started to shake his head.

I tried to play dumb. "What *gulp*, what are you talking about?"

But he could see it in my eyes. And, just to make for sure, he took a deep breath. And then i saw a look of dissapointment crawl onto his face, which didn't leave.

"You did...but why. I thought you stopped...you told your mom that you stopped?' He paused, looking for the right words. "You lied to your mom...what i want to know is..." He took one more deep breath, "Why?"

I could see that his eyes had started to glisten, from the tears that i know he was holding back. I was stupid, and so i told myself "Ohh, no, here comes the pitty party". But it didn't come. He just walked over to my desk, pulled out the chair, plopped himself into it, and layed his head on the mahogony top.

"Dad, it was just a few sips." I said, lying. It wasn't just a few sips, and i knew it. I could feel the start of a hangoever, ready to flood my world with pain.

But dad didn't move, he just sat there, with his eyes closed, muttering to himself. I walked over to my bed, and flopped down upon it, so that my feet touched the floor, but the rest of me was on the bed.

It was never this bad, dad had never acted like this when ever i had gone out before. He always had a lecture waiting, the same one every time. "You should know better", and "Life ain't all butterflys and flowers, it's hard", and finally "When i was your age, i didn't have time for drinking, i would be working on the farm all day". Ohh sure, i was tired of all that, but it was better then this.

We stay like that for a long while, him not moving, and me not moving. I was almost scared, but not quite. I mean, what could he do. I was 19, old enough to be on my own. I just spent all the money that i got on my addiction. I wasn't a full fledged addict, sure, but i was pretty close.

And then he muttered something. I couldn't understand what he had just said. "What?...you say something dad?" I asked.

He turned his face towards me. And i could see that he hadn't been able to hold back the tears. They were fresh on his cheeks.

He took a big breath..."Your mother commited suicide this morning..."

I couldn't believe what he had just said..."What do you mean?" Was all that i could get out.

"You heard me boy...YOUR MOTHER IS DEAD!" He had yelled the last part.

I was up, and on my feet, before the words were all out of his mouth. I went straight for him then. When i got to the desk, i grabbed him by his shoulders, and hauled him to his feet. I was seething mad...and i couldn't stop myself.

This time it was my turn to look him in the eyes. He didn't look away, he just stared right back, not even flinching. We stayed like that, for what seemed an eternity. I wanted to...i don't know what i wanted, i just couldn't take the news properly. It was just too much.

After a few minutes, i finally let go of him, and i stalked out of the room. Not even looking back, not trusting myself to stay in the wretched house, one more second. I grabbed my keys from the dinning room table.. Found the two bottles of miller light, that i had stashed in the attic. And went out the front door, not knowing where i was going, but knowing one thing...i was never, NEVER, coming back to this house.

I had my wallet in my back pocket, and it held enough money that i could last maybe a month, two at most, if i kept my drinking to a low. I went to the garage, got on my motercycle, and a few minutes latter, i was speeding down the highway, to only god knew where.

JANUARY 15TH 2006:

I was 29 now. And it's been 10 years since that fateful day.

I finally stopped drinking, a few months after it happened. I don't know how. One day i was Craving upwards of 5 bottles a day, and the next, i had no cravings at all. Maybe it was a miracle, or maybe it was because i was broke. Whatever it was, i was greatful. I never liked myself after i got drunk. And expecialy the hangover, those sucked. But that wasn't it. I hated how it had killed my mom.

Ohh i didn't know for sure, but i was pretty certain that it was my fault that she died. I had first thought that it was me, 2 years after it had happened. I hadn't been able to think about it since then. Not wanting to get depressed all over again. And expecialy not wanting to give my body an excuse to go back to drinking. But at the two year anniversary, i couldn't stop myself. Everything came back in a flash. The pain. The hurt. The disbelief...everything. And it wasn't like it came back slowly. Nope. It came back all at once, and i layed on my bed, for what seemed like days. Sleeping, crying, eating, crying.

But after a few days, i told myself that i didn't want to become a guy that just stayed in bed all day, for the rest of his life, becoming a bum. And so, on the fourth day, i decided to move, and try to forget the past, no matter how hard it might be.

And now, it was coming up on the tenth anniversary. And i knew that things had to come to a close, and the only why i knew of doing that, was to find my dad. This plan had been brewing in my mind for almost two weeks now. I had first thought of it, when i saw that the tenth anniversary was coming up, and i knew it had to be done.

The first step, was too his name up on google...google, faithful google.

It took me a few hours to find the right one, but i finally did. I found out that he was now living in an apartment, not far from our old house. It was only a few hours away, and it was still early in the day, and i told myself "right nows, a good a time as any", and so i was off.

*Knock* *Knock*. I rapped my hand upon the door two times, after there was no answer, i tried it two more times. I was now on the 5th floor, room 542, in a dinky hotel that i remembered from my childhood. The hotel was only 3 blocks from my old house, and i had walked past it on the way to school, every single day.

I tried knocking on the door one more time, when no one answered, i started to walk away. And then i heard a timid voice, coming from down the hallway


i looked towards the voice, and i saw a girl, not more then 13 staring back at me. She was wearing blue jeans, a pair of flip-flops, and a plain white t-shirt. Her hair was dirty blonde, and was tied up in a scrunchie.

"Hey..." Was all that i said.

She creeped a few more feet towards me, "Who...*gulp*, who are you?"

I tried on a smile, to break the ice, and said, as none threatening as i could manage. "My name is jakson del hewit...and who are you?"

She didn't reply for awhile, her eyes were searching me. Propbably trying to see if i was some kind of pervert or something. After a few minutes, she put on a smile, sastified with what she saw.

"My name is Milly..." She paused, stared at me hard, and then resumed talking. "And...and i think i knew your dad."

I couldn't believe what i had just heard. "Did this little girl know my dad...?" I told myself. But i didn't want to get my hopes up. "What was his name?"

"You don't know your own dads name..." She asked, bearly keeping a smile from forming on her face.

"Of course i know my dads name, i just wanna make for sure your not lying." I replied, matter of factly. "Ohh yea, a smart allick" I told myself, an even bigger smile invading my face.

"His name was..." She was staring at the floor now, obiviously trying to remember his name. "James allan hewit?"

I nodded my head. "So this girl knew my dad" i thought. "Thats his name alright...do you know where he is?"

She quickly looked up from the patch of floor she had been staring at, and she got that look in her face of...dread?...or something like it. She started playing with her hair, first twirling it around her finger, then taking the scrunchie on and off, on and off.

"WHERE IS HE?" I yelled. I couldn't stop myself. I was at the edge of the cliff, and i was about to fall off into the abyss.

Milly just stood there, tears starting to stream down her face..."He's...uhmm...he's..." She took one big *GULP*, and then my world came tumbling down. "He's dead..."


This is my last entry, in this journal of mine.

It has now been over two weeks since i went to go find my dad. And i had found out...that i was too late. I have been writing this all down, so i could give you a warning. You never know how long. I guess thats the gyst of it. You never know how long you have in life, and so, if i were you, love life to the fullest, don't look back, forgive all, and last of all...again...YOU NEVER KNOW HOW LONG

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