A Nightmare Come True

A Nightmare Come True

From Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul

A Nightmare Come True

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me!” Words can never hurt me? During my life I’ve wondered—is that myth or reality? Now I know the answer.

When I was born, my dad and mom were very young. All they wanted to do was party, and they based their lives on alcohol and drugs. As I began to grow up, I spent most of my time with my grandmother because my parents weren’t able to help raise me.

Finally, when I was about five, my dad stopped doing drugs. He went to a place to get detoxed so he could be a real father to me. My mom tried to do the same thing, but she couldn’t stop drinking.

For years I lived happily with my dad. I saw my mom off and on. It made me sad when I stayed with her because she was always crying or making promises she couldn’t keep. It was rare to see my mom without a beer in her hand. Sometimes she had this blank look in her eyes. I knew that when she looked that way, she was trying to block out all her feelings. It was the way that she hid her pain.

One day I was in the front yard when my uncle Tommy drove up. I was excited to see him, and I went up to him to give him a hug. My uncle sort of pushed me away and told me he needed to talk to my dad. Later, he left without saying good-bye to me.

I tried not to think about what he and my dad might have discussed, but after that day I started having nightmares. I was dreaming really crazy stuff, trying to figure out what my uncle had said. Night after night it went on.

My dad would wake me up, telling me it was just a dream, but the dreams felt like reality to me.

Two weeks before Halloween, my uncle Tommy came over again. He looked so pale—he could have been a walking dead man. I gave him a wave and a faint hello. Then I walked away because I could tell he wanted to talk to my dad. After he left, my dad went into the house to talk to his girlfriend.

I was getting very worried. I went into the house and asked, “What’s wrong with the two of you?”

Then my dad told me something about my mom that I wasn’t ready for. She was in the hospital.

The very next day, I went to the hospital to visit her. I was expecting to see the same beautiful face of my mom that I was used to, but it wasn’t that way. I couldn’t believe the person lying there was really my mom. She had drunk so much beer that it had destroyed her liver. She looked like she had yellow cover-up all over her body. Then it hit me. My mom was dying.

For one week, my mom lay in the hospital, and I felt completely lost. I visited her so often that it was like I was living there.

Then one day, when I was at home, my dad received a phone call. His smile disappeared, he started to frown— and in my heart I knew what it was. There would be no more pain or suffering for my mom, and my nightmares had come true. The one in pain, the one I loved—my mom—was dead. Those three little words, “She is gone,” will hurt me forever. Sticks and stones would be easier to bear.

Damien Liermann, age 14

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