Tara was shaking with excitement, she could barely grab the clothes without fumbling, she placed item by item carefully in the bag so she could fit as much as possible. It would be over soon. All the horror of her home would be gone, just a few more minutes and she could run out of the house and hope to never lay eyes on it again. The blonde turned around to the dresser and opened a draw, she lay out all the items and considered whether to take them all or not. She put her mother's items to one side, they where definitely going and her neckl- Tara heard the door squeak open slowly, the hairs on the back of her neck stood up knowing who it was. Shit How did he do it again? She always heard his car come in... She pulled her eyes upwards and looked in the mirror, the reflection showed a withered man with dark circles surrounding his eyes, he hadn't slept again obviously.
"How..." She started but was cut off by a low and grumbling voice.
"I walked" He said bitterly, still catching his breath. She looked down again. She had no idea where he walked from but it wasn't like she cared right now. Maybe he would just leave and not notice, the bag sitting on her bed she considered. Creases formed on her face as she felt him step further into the room, the loose floor boards creaked underneath his heavy shoes. She looked again seeing his glance fall on the half packed bag but she said nothing.
"What's this then? Deserting your father?" Tara looked him the eyes; she had had enough of this now. No more. The thought of Willow flowed through her every sense and gave her all the confidence she needed. It was as simple now, Willow had made it clear for her and she was leaving this house, even if it meant walking out that door with broken arms and her clothes soaked in blood. Her Willow would fix her up, and would never let it happen again, just like she had said. She slowly stood up with her mother's items in her shaking hands and placed them inside the navy blue hold-all. He scoffed at her coolness sending a wave of bourbon breath up her nose. She squinted and turned away to collect the few items left on her dresser.
"Don't you dare" He said menacingly. Tara fought back a tear; it wasn't as hard as she thought. He was still in the way of the door. Any second she could give up apologize and sit down for a lecture. But a force beyond her made her hands steady now, reaching for item after item, avoiding the dark mans stare penetrating her back.
"No More" She said.
"No more..." A whisper barely made it out of her lips but it was enough for him to hear. He looked at her in surprise. He was getting angered and frustrated at her inability to look him, but this time it wasn't about her anxiety.
"Look at me!" He demanded stamping his foot in weak frustration. He steadied himself on the post of her bed in order to keep his balance. Tara still didn't respond and kept placing her clothing away. She rolled them tight like her mother had taught her on camping trips. She could feel the tears falling down her cheeks now, one by one, this really was the end. She could hear his heavy breathing increasingly unstable and erratic, but he wasn't moving from his spot by the door. She turned towards him and looked up to see his features soften in pain. His face was twisting in disbelief as if he was trying to form words in the shocked state he was in. He looked into his daughters eyes and saw her determination. He pressed his lips together and felt his eyes welling up again. Why is this happening? He yelled at himself, he had never been like this.. Shouldn't have had that last beer, then I wouldn't be acting like such a wimp he cursed in his thoughts.
The truth was in the second of seeing his daughters stare, he saw his wife all over again, the day they where married, Tara was becoming her in everyway and it was getting harder and harder to look at her each day. It was menacing and torturing him, the devil was playing with his mind. He grabbed at his hair not knowing what else to do, rage was fueling up inside him, and he didn't want to take it out on anyone but himself, beating Tara to a pulp was the only way of hiding the mask of his wife, but every time, the scars healed, the bruises faded and her flawless face returned to haunt him.
The man yelled out, Tara could hear the weakening pain in him knowing he was going to cry if he let himself, but he never did that, the frustrated yell was the signal for the abuse. She had got used to running when she heard that animalistic roar. But her feet where firmly placed on the dusty boards. She looked at her father quizzically wondering what he was going to do next. His eyes met hers again and in disbelief he felt tears falling down his rough cheeks for the first time in years. The both stood in silence, never having experienced this before. Everything was silent.
He was exposed, this was it, the midlife breakdown he had been expecting for years, and not only him. Tara shook her head in anger, and zipped the bag shut.
"All the tears I have shed for her and you expect me to comfort you now? Where were you?!" She said, her voice shaking like a child.
"Where were you?" Tara yelled again through her tears, letting them come down hard against her flesh, running down past her neck, her skin burning from the salt and rage, starring at this empty man who was falling towards the floor. His hands where huddled tightly over his chest in an effort to stop shaking.
"Where...Were YOU!" She screamed at him, the menace in her voice was in full force, her face was red, her eyes swollen and wet.
"Where were you... when she was being lowered ...into that god awful ground?" She followed weakly between tear filled breaths. She cried openly and loudly, it was as if they had gone back in time and all the hurt that was rushing through her body like adrenaline that day of the funeral had come back to haunt the both of them.
"At the kitchen table....with a bottle of that" She pointed sharply at his heavy bourbon breath. It was his turn now, the sound coming out from his chest was like a low rumble of the deepest of earth, building up into a low moan over flat tones and heavy breathing getting higher as he felt the loss of his wife reach in and grab at his lungs. He openly cried towards the floor and felt every word of his daughter slamming into his chest one by one like slabs of concrete.
"I'm sorry..." he mumbled between sobs. He was almost yelling when he could catch his breath in time to apologize one more time. His desperation made Tara fall to the floor with him. Stop Crying! She kept on saying to herself in her head, Stop Apologizing! Stop it Stop it Stop it! But as much as she hated hearing his wavering child like plea's she wanted to hear those words over and over and over again till the end of the earth.
"I'm sorry...I'm sorry....I'm sorry..." he continued, his voice small now, the words barely understandable. Tara took a deep breath in feeling a calmness fall over the room. She felt her Mother, the true presence of her Mother for the first time in so many years. She gained her balanced and stood at the end of the bed. She picked up the handle of the simple back pack, and looked down at the man at her feet. She stepped passed him and stopped at the edge of the door.
"I love you..." She whispered and left the room. Hearing his faint apology still wavering through the wooden floor boards, she'd once named her sanctuary.