Go To Sleep

Many of you love to read, else why did you come here? The reason I am writing this story is to help me not forget the lessons I learned. I have written another story in honor of my parents, who influenced my life greatly. When I was a boy I loved to read, and would stay up with a flashlight at night, reading in bed after curfew. Our house was filled with books, stacked to the ceiling in plain wooden book cases. My mum was an english teacher and my stepfather was a science teacher. Living on two teacher salaries, our house was quite small, and barely affordable. In fact, my stepfather would get angry with me if I left the bathroom light on. He never admitted we had financial problems, so as not to scare me, but I knew well enough. Batteries were costly, and I went through them too quickly. My stepfather was no fool, and figured out that our flashlight was being used, when it shouldn't have been.
"Elijah, have you been using the flashlight?" He asked. I knew I was in trouble if I told, so ignorant and foolish me, I said no.
"No Sir." I said, shaking my head innocently. I remembered a year before, when I was in the sixth grade, and my stepfather had caught me reading a book in class. That was my first spanking, and I didn't want a second. I thought it was a harmless little lie that would just breeze by without notation.
"Alright, well do you want me to believe it was Livia who did it?" He asked, hands on hips, and laser glare. This was his Don't-screw-with-me-I-know-it-wasn't-coincidence face. i thought of confessing now, and risk just being grounded, but my friend Hunter had invited me with him to a football game.
"I don't know, maybe someone just accidentally left it on." I said, shrugging.
"Okay, well you better be getting to bed. And don't make too much noise, it takes forever to get Livia to sleep." He said, putting the flashlight down. Livia was my baby sister, and I thought they were so absorbed in her, they wouldn't notice if I just went upstairs with the flashlight, right? As soon as he was gone, I had grabbed the flashlight and disappeared into the garage, filling it with new batteries. I was struggling with the polarization on them, when a knock sounded on the door. I jumped, oh, whew, it was just Livia. She was in her pjs and running through the house, hiding from daddy.
"Elijah, what's that?" She said, fingers half in her mouth. I was still recovering from the near heart attack she had given me.
"None of your business." I said rudely.
"Ada said it was bed time." She mumbled. Ada was the word she was using for dad, since she was still very small, and not fully linguistically fluent yet.
"Yeah, for you. I am a big person, so I get to stay up. Go to bed Livi." I said, stuffing the flashlight in my shirt.
"I don wan to." She said, now chewing on her hair.
"I don care." I said, mocking her. This made her angry, and she punched my leg. She was only about knee height. I was pretty tall though.
"Livi! Did you just hit your brother?" My mum scolded. I froze, flashlight still down my shirt. I hastened to shove it up my sleeve instead. She took no notice, and went to scoop up Livia.
"Livi what do you say to your brother?" She asked, holding her with one arm on her hip.
"He started it."
"No that's not what you say. I want to hear you apologize for hitting him. I don't like it when you hit him, because sooner or later, he'll hit you back. Now say you're sorry." She said, folding her hair behind her ear and looking into Livia's face. Livia looked furious.
"Mum, it's alright. I sort of provoked her." I said, not wanting my sister to take the blame, also not wanting to be discovered.
"Okay, well have sweet dreams then. I'll see you in the morning." She said, as I backed up the stairs. I had on a long sleeve white shirt, with flannel red pj bottoms, both with no pockets to hide flashlights in.
"Goodnight." I said, hoping she would walk the other direction. She did.
"Goodnight baby, and don't stay up past nine, understand?"
"Yes ma'am." I said. She smiled and took Livia to bed. I stayed up and read for a while, but when that nine o'clock curfew came around, I didn't go to bed. I was in the middle of a football player's biography, and I was quarterback on my school's team. I was really into it, and when my stepfather called up the stairs to say goodnight, I kept my light on.
"Goodnight Elijah. Turn off your lights." He called.
"Yeah, goodnight dad!" I shouted back, not even looking up from my book. When he came back around, he saw my light was still on.
"Elijah! Are you still awake?" He called. I heard this time, and panicked. As the creaky floorboards squeaked, signaling he was coming up, I arranged myself to make it look like I had fallen asleep reading, and the light had stayed on. I tried to slow my breathing to sleep norm. I felt light headed as he opened the door to my small attic room, and walked across the floor. He was a very light and agile person, so I thought I would hear as he approached my bed. He arrived at it a few seconds than I had anticipated, and switched off my light. I gave a little gasp at the surprise, and tried to make it more of a snore. He hesitated for a moment, then decided it was nothing and descended down the stairs.
As soon as he was gone, I was up in a flash, and under the covers with my flashlight. I remember reading something about the quarter back taking a fall, and being crushed by the other player. I imagined the feeling and shuddered. I had been tackled, and been the tacklee, but this one put the character in the hospital (I have a photographic memory, so it is easy to remember these things). Just at that moment, the covers flew off! There I was, caught red handed, with the flashlight and new batteries, reading at eleven o'clock PM.
"Hi dad." I said nervously. I was panicking okay, so I just mumbled out the first thing that occurred to me.
"Hi son." He said, mocking me. His arms were crossed, and his hair was messed up. He was angry, I mean like angry angry. I had seen him like this once before, when a boy had answered a question wrong, and two seconds before he had just went over the answer. This proved that the boy was not listening, and this ticked him off. However, I was his stepson, and he could spank me with much more than a ruler, many more than five times (The limit at our school for corral punishment). I was on the verge of tears, knowing that I had disappointed him, and lied to him all in one night.
"No, I have no idea why the flashlight is low on battery. It wasn't me." He said, mocking me again. He adopted a sarcastic and sassy manner when he recited my own words to me.
"I'm sorry, I just didn't want to, well..." I trailed off.
"You what? Didn't want to take responsibility for your actions, you wanted to lie to my face?" He said, keeping his voice and temper under control.
"No sir,...I" I began, but he cut me off.
"Get up!" He hissed, and went from crossed arms to hands on hips. Bad sign.
"Dad, I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking." I tried. He continued to glare at me.
"Elijah, I asked you directly if you knew."
"I'm sorry. I was...well..." I said, gesturing to the flashlight and book.
"I know, reading. I am glad you like to read, but you don't make the rules in this house boy, and when I tell you something, or ask you something, I expect an honest answer and obedience. When you lie to me it makes me doubt the trust I have in you." He says. Those were the last words I wanted to hear him say. He had been a pretty good dad, and a good husband to my mum. I couldn't imagine him not trusting me, or telling my mum he didn't want me as a son. I feared these things, things like maybe he loves Livia more, or that my mum loves him more than me, or that he hates me and doesn't want me in his house. None of these were true, but I worried still.
"No dad, please. I'm sorry." I begged.
"I know you're sorry, and sorry means you will not ever do this again."
"I won't! I don't know what I was thinking, I just wanted to stay up and read. Sorry I lied."
"Are you really? Or are you sorry you got caught?"
"I don't know." I said honestly.
"No, Elijah, we've been over this. There is a time to read, and a time to sleep. I will not stand for this behavior in you!" He yelled, poking me in the chest. I wet my lips, knowing I was getting a spanking for sure this time. I had done it, and now I was caught being stupid.
"Yes sir."I said in an undertone.
"Bend over, right now!" He said, closing his eyes in disbelief and pointing to my desk. he was rubbing his forehead with his thumb and index finger, like he was exhausted, and he couldn't believe he had to deal with another thing before he could go to sleep. I didn't want to fight him. I even knew I deserved it, although I was furious with him at the time. I bent over, bracing myself. He grabbed a belt hanging on my clothes rack. I thought he was just going to whip me like he had previously: Ten lashes over pants.
"Why the hell don't you listen to me?" He asked. I was shocked, he never cussed, never at me, never at my mum, and certainly not at Livia. He always seemed so controlled, and righted, but this was how I could tell he was seriously angry. He yanked down my flannel pajamas, to reveal my boxers, I was mortified when he ripped those down too. It had hurt well enough the last time when it had been over pants!
"Dad no, please! Dad, what are you doing?" I asked, scared now.
"I thought I told you to bend the hell over! You lied to me, and you're going to learn not to!" He yelled at me. I bent back over, afraid further argument would make him slap me. Never though, in all my years, has he slapped me across the face. I thought he might on that night, when he raised a threatening hand to tell me he was serious. I didn't speak unless spoken to after that. The pain of this spanking I remember the most clearly, probably because it was the most severe and harsh. He raised the belt higher than last time, and brought it down with more force than I thought he'd use. He was very built and strong, with six pack abs, but he was always very in-control of his temper, and didn't usually lose it. The belt came down with a swap, and it was followed by another, almost immediately. The first one made me gasp, the stinging pain of that line where it had thrashed me throbbed white hot. He whipped me with more speed and force than he'd used before. I was crying, and trying to prevent myself from screaming. I was a twelve year old football player, I couldn't cry out just yet. I was wondering how many times he was going to lash me when he reached fifteen lashes. My bum was on fire, and a tear slid out of my eye. I gave a tiny, involuntary sob. He lashed me thirty times, and I was just about to drop and beg on my knees. The pain seemed to spread everywhere, and the throbbing made it seem enormous.I have always been a little underweight and skinny, and the belt started to hurt my bones. I dropped to the floor, sobbing. He hit me once more, on the back. I pulled up my boxers and crumbled into a ball. I was holding my knees and rocking back and forth. I was lying on my side, because I couldn't stand to have anything touch my ***.
"Please, please. I'm sorry." I sobbed, squeezing my eyes shut and clenching my teeth. He had stopped, but he said nothing as he rushed out of the room, dropping the belt and holding his hand to his mouth. He left me there, crying on my floor. When the pain had subsided, I got up and turned out the lights. I cried myself to sleep, contemplating weather or not I should go own and see if he was open to listening to another apology. I slept on my stomach, sheets off. The next morning he came in to wake me up and sat on the end of my bed. I pretended I was asleep. He touched my foot and held it like he was holding my hand.
"Elijah, are you awake?" he asked softly. I gave a little whimper, not meaning it to sound pitiful, but coming out that way anyway.
"Listen, I lost my temper last night, and I know there is no way I could ever properly apologize for that. But if you will listen, I am sorry. If you could ever forgive me, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to beat you that hard, and I now you're probably furious with me, but if you can understand, I just lost my temper." He said, and I think he must have been holding back tears, because his voice was choked. I moved my foot closer to him.
"I knew it was you, and I kept telling myself it wasn't, but when I found out it was, I lost it Elijah, and it scared even me, to think I could be that violent with my own kid. You are the best son I could ask for, and I'm not perfect, but if you can forgive an unperfected dad, I'm right here, whenever you need me. Please don't lie to me anymore. Please." He said, holding my foot tighter. I sat up, stretching the welts that had been left. I didn't wince, or groan. I saw he had watery eyes, and I scooted next to him. He offered his hand to shake, and I didn't take it. Instead I hugged him, sniffling, meanwhile simultaneously inhaling the aromas of french toast breakfast downstairs. He hugged me back, holding the back of my head.
"I love you elijah." He said, giving me a kiss on the forehead.
"I love you too." I sniffed into his shirt. We were both still in our white cotton shirts and flannel bottoms.
"We should go get some of your mum's cooking." he said, clapping me on the back.
"Oh god yes, it smells amazing." I said, getting up and doing my six- in- the -morning -walk. My six in the morning walk was the kind of zombie like walk you do when you are tired and feel intoxicated. He put his arm around my shoulders and we went down to breakfast. Livia was dumping half the syrup bottle on her tiny piece of toast, and my mum was furiously making tea while making eggs, while making toast, while telling Livia not to make herself sick. She was a professional multitasker.
"You two are late! We're going to be late to church! Gobble up and make yourselves less messy, Livia and I are already dressed." She said, while she was flipping toast and cracking an edge in a bowl with the other hand. She looked beautiful in her sunday church dress.
"I love you too." he said, pulling her into a kiss. She laughed and told him to go get dressed, now. My stepdad never lost his temper with me again after that, not once.


Princelegolas Princelegolas
26-30, M
1 Response Sep 14, 2012

I found out later that he'd been struggling with finances that day, and we came very close to losing our house. I didn't know he'd been having a bad day and when he came home with an apartment pamphlet, I knew we were in trouble. We ended up not losing the house, but it scared him how close he'd come to not being able to provide for his family.