My father, while a decent man, always had a problem with drinking. He still does despite his waning constitution.
When I was 8, he and my mother were still into the party scene because they were still young, having had me out of wedlock. They would go to parties with their supposed friends and drink, and since my mother worried about what her mother would think, they would often take me with them.
Sometimes they would argue, sometimes they just had a few drinks then watched the rugby. A lot of the time they would sing karaoke until the late hours of the night. Those were the worst because they couldn’t sing worth shit.
But I could handle the singing and the arguing. What I couldn’t handle was the way home. We only lived a few corners away but my father was always so deep in his cups that he could probably drown on air by the time he got behind the wheel. I often asked my mother to let us walk home but she always said it would be fine. It never was.
Dad would swerve from side to side on the road like a roller coaster. Mom would screech at him to drive straight and I would be in the back, clutching the broken safety belt as if it would do its original function even though the thing was snapped in half. It was back then, sick to my stomach of worry and fear, clutching a useless safety belt with my parents hollering at each other in the front seats, that I thought I was going to die. It was the first time I realized I could die.
Now I can’t stand sitting in cars without a laptop or something to distract me.