One day when I was 13 and in the 8th grade, I had gotten the stomache flu and had to stay home from school. I was pretty happy lying in my bed with a hot cup of tea sweetened with 5 tblsp of sugar, reading the Tale Tale Heart for the hundredth time. 
I had planned to spend the whole day in bed reading, eating PB toast and feeling pretty jacked about missing a school test because of being sick.I had only thrown up once the night before and was actually feeling pretty good but was playing it sick for all I was worth. 
My mother had left for her Christian ministry duties and would be gone all day, and my father was in Springfield Oregon for the week working and wouldn't be back until the next day. 
As I lay in bed in the room I shared with my 2 sisters, my mouth filled with toast, I thought I heard a car pull up. I was wondering if my mother had come home early and I'd just gotten up to spy out the window, when my father walked in the door. 
The door to the mobile home we lived in was right next to my bedroom, so I didn't have a chance to hide in the closet from my father. I remember feeling a hot shock spread through my body, then the fear and nausea. 
I was so afraid at seeing my father home that I couldn't even swallow my toast and ran to the bathroom and threw it up. As I turned away from the toilet, I had already switched to my defense mode and watched my father to see what kind of mood he was in. 
PLEASE DEAR GOD don't let him be drunk I prayed as I looked into my fathers bloodshot eyes. I smiled sweetly while making sure I looked sick and said to him, " you're home early daddy, Mama said you wouldn't be home till tomorrow. I've got the flu and I'm not feeling well". 
I eyed the door he was blocking, wishing he was two feet over so I could yank that front door open and run like hell. I would of been beat afterwards but I'd take a beating any day over the alternative. I hurried past my father, went down the hall to the living room, sat on the couch and turned on the t.v. There was no way in hell I wanted to be anywhere near a bedroom when I was alone with my father. 
My knees shook as I told my father that I'd just gotten off the phone with mother (a lie) and she would be heading home any minute. 
My father smiled his all knowing smile at me,  and with the twinkle in his eyes that drove all women crazy, said " Really? I just had breakfast with her and she told me she wouldn't be home for hours". 
My stomach sunk as my father walked into the kitchen and set his brown paper bag on the table to give me a hug. 
OH GOD! I frigging hated hugging. Like we were just normal people hugging. 
"I missed you", he said as I tried pushing away. 
Oh my God, I kept thinking. This is gonna be a bad one. 
"I don't feel well", I said in a whiny voice. I felt like I couldn't breathe and would pass out at any moment with the thought of being alone for hours with my father. 
My father told me he wanted to talk to me about the things kids my age were getting into. The evils of drinking alcohol. 
"Alcohol? But I don't drink daddy. I hate the taste of beer." 
I was dead set against drinking because I saw what my fathers drinking did to the family. 
My father smiled his smile. OH GOD, Please NO. 
My father said he was going to teach me a possibly life saving lesson by showing me how bad it was to get drunk. He said he was going to show me that people did sinful things when they were drunk that they wouldn't do normally. 
As he was talking to me, he pulled 2 bottles of  M.D. 20/20 out of the bag. He went to the cupboard and pulled out two large glasses and a large jar of my mothers homemade Dill pickles. I loved those pickles and could eat a jar all by myself. I didn't know what pickles had to do with drinking, but I knew something bad was going to happen. 
I froze in fear when I realized what he meant by teaching me a lesson about drinking.I was praying to god "please, please God. I'm so sorry for not believing. If you help me this once, I'll never doubt you again", I pleaded silently to God. " Just one time God, that's all I'm asking. Save me this one time. Please, please, please". 
No answer from God. 
It wasn't until the next day that I realized that my prayers had been answered, though I wasn't sure by who. But the "life saving lesson" from my father, is one I would use for many, many years to come. Hallelujah, Praise the Lord; thanks to dear old daddy, I didn't remember a damn thing after the first hour of his lesson. At least not on a conscious level. 
I did remember that when my father told me to fill a glass to the top and start drinking, I started crying and begging him to not make me drink it. I hated crying in front of my father. "No I won't drink it daddy", I yelled. "The bible says it's a sin to get drunk and I'm gonna tell mother on you." 
My father just looked at me as he filled the glass to the top, smiled and said "To your health. Drink up, Shaunda".

This poem is about: 
My family



I may have been 12.

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