In the beginning, dad left and mom hung herself from the rafters. And even though he was gone and she was gone, he was not really gone and she was not really gone.
And as I bounced from home to home and school to school and family to family, he was always there. And as I went from girl to girl and friend to friend and drug to drug, she was always there.
And doctors had theories and tests and pills. And teachers had hopes and dreams and books. And classmates had secrets and fears and fists.
And then I was an adult.
And as I started my own family, I had all that my dad had once had and all that my mom had once had, plus more. And with each bill, each chore, each task, and each day, I came to realize who I had become. And who I always had been, would be. And what had to be done.
So I woke up early and one by one walked the rooms of my house. And the dogs followed me to my daughter’s room, my son’s room, my family room, my basement, my library, my garage, and my wife’s room.
And then I knew.
And as I took one last glance at the portrait of my mom my dad had painted, the photo album from their wedding day, and the snapshot of the three of us, me still inside her, it all made sense.
They had never left me. And I was going to be okay.
Jeff Hill is a moderately reformed frat boy turned writer who left teaching after 10 years to split his time between Nebraska and New York and focus on his writing career. His work has appeared in dozens of publications and his mom has copies for any doubters. He is the Chief Creative Officer of ComicBooked.com and is currently pitching two novels. Jeff is a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a regular participant of the Sarah Lawrence College Summer Seminar for Writers, and has served as a faculty member of the Writer’s Hotel since 2017. Follow him on Twitter at jeffhillwriter.