Erik’s father Bruce was not an alcoholic he was a drunk. His “life” was so miserable he felt the need to fill every waking minute with beer or liquor. Bruce was more then happy to tell everyone that he was not happy and it was not his fault. He could of been a good father if Erik’s mother would of allowed him to do what he wanted. Erik was nearly ten years old when the incident happened. The night before, like clockwork, Bruce wandered through the front door attempted to sit and relax. Erik’s mother, terminally tired of Bruce’s beer-enhanced laziness would bring up the latest of his misadventures. Bruce being the man of honor he was would then proceed to insult Erik’s mother. They would fight and usually his mother would stomp off and disappear into her room until Bruce passed out. The morning after Bruce awoke find all his belongings had been piled around him. Erik’s mother stood quietly preparing breakfast and helping Erik get ready for school. Like an animal released after a night of beatings, Bruce began to throw everything he could get his hands on. He screamed obscenities on top of obscenities, while Erik’s mother tried to ignore his outburst. Erik could tell his mother was struggling. She tried to keep a fragile smile while she quickly rushed him out the door to his bus.
The bus stop was a quarter mile from the house. The screams from the house disappeared seconds before Erik noticed he had forgotten his backpack. Erik knew going back into that house was not wise. It never was but quietly he wondered what happened after he left for school. He loved his mother and never wanted to leave her in the morning. He knew that Bruce was angry and his mother was never to far away to receive punishment. Erik was within earshot again of the screaming but it was only from Bruce. His mother’s usual verbal volleys were not there. “What had he done to her? What would he find when he opened that door?”
Erik approached the front door. He could see within the kitchen from outside the house. Bruce stood, back toward him, his mother’s dress swallowed up in front of the large man’s frame. Her feet kicked below her dress, she was struggling. Erik threw open the front door. Bruce looked back, surprised he let go of Erik’s mother. She fell to the floor. Erik ran into Bruce and shoved him. He was small but Erik’s momentum was enough to knock Bruce sideways. Bruce fell into the gas stove and it ignited the loose fitted shirt he was wearing. Bruce continued to fall, on fire and knocked a hot pot of water over his face. Erik’s mother screamed. Erik stood watching as the flames ate up Bruce’s shirt. Bruce held his face as the hot water seared his flesh. Suddenly, Erik felt a shove from behind as his mother pushed him out of the way. She then proceeded to fill another pot with cold water and attempt to douse the flames. Bruce screamed and held his face. Erik watched as his mother put out the flames.
After several minutes his mother stood over him and asked pointedly, “What are you doing home?”