“What do I have to do to make you obey me? Kill them? Kill you?” His fist shaking inches from my face conveyed the seriousness of his threat, as did the mottled blue and green markings on my legs and back, not yet faded from his last threat.
Whiskey scented spittle flew at my eyes as he ranted, blending with tears that splattered on the small gift which had started this all. I clutched the stuffed kitten closer to my chest as I shrank into the corner of my room.
“I told you to stay away from them boys. They’re too old to be talking to little girls like you. Which one of them gave that thing to you?” He ripped the toy from my tiny fingers and flung it across the room.
“David.” I whispered my confession.
“I’ll kill him. He has no business messing with my little girl. Your mine. Understand me? Come ‘ere.” I locked my eyes on the token of affection now laying on a pile of dirty clothes, as my father expressed a different kind of affection.
I prayed he would pass out quicker than last time.
“I killed him!” Joshua mashes the buttons on his controller frantically, only looking up for a moment to check Sam’s face for approval. They exchange a quick high five and advance to level seven.
I love watching the two of them together. Sam is a wonderful dad. He helps with homework. Plays with Josh and is always ready to listen when he’s upset. He even says bedtime prayers with him each night. Our refrigerator has never seen a bottle of alcohol and our family bible isn’t covered in dust.
Josh’s childhood has been completely different from what Sam and I grew up knowing. He’s never known such anger and fear. Our home is filled with a love neither of us thought we’d ever find. We thank God often for bringing us together and for healing our hearts.
As I watch Josh become a man, it is my deepest hope that he will become a man of God. A man who will know how to love and protect his children and wife. A man who will honor God’s laws and raise my grandchildren in a home of peace. A home where they will not have to fear for their lives as they sleep each night.
I pray that he will be a man after his dad’s heart.
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