"I finished my waffles daddy." My seven year old daughter Sadie informs me. I’m having dinner with my kids and Kevin. It’s frozen waffle night…again.
I'm 30 years old and I'm recently a single father to two kids. As I said before, my daughter Sadie is seven, I also have a five year old son named Johnny. I had a third child a one month old son named Kevin (yes named after my brother). He died in a car accident along with my wife Tammy two weeks ago. We haven’t even had a funeral for them yet because of expenses. We were married for 8 years before she was tragically taken from us. I sure could use her right now, we’ve been living off of frozen waffles for the past two weeks. I’m not much of a cook.
I take Sadie’s plate and rinse it off in the sink, barely making eye contact with her. It’s hard looking at her at times because she looks exactly like Tammy. I feel like I’m seeing a ghost every time I’m near her. Luckily Johnny looks like me so I don’t get that feeling from him.
"I'm finished with my waffles too Kenny." My brother Kevin tells me. He's been living with me since I was 18. He's special needs and can't live on his own. He suffered from Shaken Baby Syndrome when he was a baby (obviously) from my parents roughly shaking him one too many times which caused severe head trauma. It was a miracle that he even survived. However, that’s had a severe impact on his life. He’s a slow learner and suffers from hearing loss in one ear.
"Okay Kevin, go rinse your plate off and put it in the sink." I tell him. Even though he’s special needs, he’s still 34 so I try to make him do some things for himself. I swear he’s like having another child in the house. I decided to take Kevin in when I got my own place because my parents were abusive towards him. They don’t have the patience to deal with him like I do even though it’s their fault he’s like this. He’s a good guy and means no harm. Sometimes he just doesn’t understand what’s going on or what people are saying to him. The kids love having their uncle around, he’s basically a play mate to them, a 6’4 play mate, but a play mate nonetheless.
"Okay Kenny. Can I play video games?” He asks.
I shrug. "Sure." I look at Sadie. "You need to get ready for bed."
"Aww come on, can I play for a little while?" She begs.
"What did I say?" I ask giving her a stern look.
"You said get ready for bed..." She says dejected.
"That's more like it." I look at Johnny. "Are you done?"
"Not yet daddy."
"Hurry up. You need to go to bed too!"
"Yes daddy." He begins to quickly stuffs his face.
"Don't stuff your face!"
"I was trying to hurry!" He says with a mouth full of food.
"Don't talk with your mouth full. You know better!"
I take a deep breath. "It's okay, just finish so you can go to bed!"
"Okay daddy." He finishes his food and heads to his room. I check to make sure the kids are in bed then I head to the kitchen and grab a bottle of whiskey. I can't start or end my day without it. It helps me get through everything that's going wrong in my life. I didn’t realize how much drinking can ease your pain until two weeks ago.
I head to Kevin's room and see him playing video games. "Time for bed." I tell him.
"Come on Kenny, I'm almost done!" Kevin whines. I’m not in the mood for this shit.
"No Kevin, I'm turning in for the night so you need to too!"
"But I'm not sleepy!" He pokes out his bottom lip.
"What did I say Kevin?" You see why I say he's like having a third child?
He sighs. "It's bedtime..."
"That's better. Turn the TV off and get into bed."
"Okay Kenny. Good night."
"Goodnight." I head to my room and get into bed.
"Kenny, I have to go!" I hear Tammy’s voice.
"Come home, I can explain!" I tell her.
"No! I don't want to hear it! I'm- AHHHHHH!" Then I hear a crash.
"Tammy! TAMMY!" I yell out. I sit up. Whew, it was only a dream. Funny, I don't even remember going to sleep. I grab my whiskey bottle that I keep under the bed and take a shot. I’m starting to feel better already.
"Daddy?" I hear. I look and see Sadie standing in the doorway. It’s so creepy that I had a dream about Tammy and now Sadie is standing in the doorway. I quickly hide the bottle.
"What is it?" I ask her.
"I had a bad dream..." Sadie cries.
"It was just a dream, go back to your room."
"But I'm scared!"
"I don't care! You're a big girl! Go back to bed!" I snap at her.
"What did I say Sadie?"
She lowers her head. "Yes daddy..." She walks away sadly. I take another drink before lying back down. I’m not even sure if I want to go back to sleep at this point…