By: Nur Hafizah Isnawan
It’s already midnight.
By this time, most children would have gone to bed to sleep or have their parents by their side telling them bedtime stories. However, the commotion coming from outside my room made me bury my head under the pillow. My heart was competing with the ticking sound of the clock beside me. I was not only worried about my safety, but the safety of Mum. I heard her screaming a few times, and these questions raced through my mind: Why was Mum screaming? Was she in pain? Was everything okay? Being curious, I went to look at what was going on in the living room. I saw Dad. It had been a month since I last saw him. I wanted to run and hug him. However, he was not looking cheerful on that day.
What happened to Dad? His hair was unkempt, with his beard covering his chin and mouth. The shirt that he wore was a bit soaked and stained. He raised his left hand and was just about to hit Mum, who was lying helplessly on the floor. “Mummm...” I cried. Dad immediately stopped whatever he was doing the moment I ran towards Mum and hugged her. “Why do you stop?! Go ahead and hit me together with your son!” threatened Mum. Hearing that, Dad furrowed his eyebrows in anger and gave us that warning look before he stormed out of the house. “Mum, where’s Dad going? Is he coming back again?” I asked Mum, feeling confused over what was actually going on in the house. Mum did not reply. All I heard were her soft cries as she hugged me. It was midnight. I was woken up by the commotion outside my room. Dad came back home again that night, in wild fits of anger. “Give me the money NOW or I’ll hurt you!” roared Dad in front of Mum’s face, raising his left hand, with the urge to slap her. “Why would I give it to YOU? All this while, I’ve worked hard to support the family, but you’re just wasting your time drinking and gambling. You don’t even bother to come home and take care of your family. You...