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My old baseball bat fell out of the cupboard I was cleaning and rolled to in front of my feet. I bent down and picked it up. It held so many happy, but also painful memories. My dad had given me it on my eleventh birthday, well it had been given to both me and my twin brother to share. Money had always been a problem in our household even when my dad was around, and expecting lavish birthday or Christmas presents was out of the question, especially as there were so many of us: me, my twin brother Jack, our younger brother Billy and our little sister Amy.

We were so pleased with our bat, it was the same cool one as all the kids at school had, but the best thing about it was that our dad would take us to practise with them once a week at the park. Our dad never had much time for us so that session each week was precious. The only time we had with our dad was the baseball practices and an hour every Sunday when we would help dad fix the car. Our dad used to talk to us, he’d tell us to work hard and stick up for ouselves, and he’d tell us that he loved us and that we’d go far and we could do whatever we set our minds to if we worked for it.

If only he’d have taken his own advice. It was seven years ago on Christmas Eve. Me and Jack were both fourteen, Billy was twelve and Amy only nine. Our parents were as usual arguing and we were being subjected to it. Our mum never wanted us to be subjected to it and had sent us to our room as usual but we could still here the shouts, it was impossible not too. And as usual Amy was crying im my arms-she hated it when they argued, we all did. What’s it about this time? ” Billy sighed. Jack shrugged, “I dunno, money probably. ” It was always money. It was because we didn’t have any. Mum couldn’t earn money because she had a diesease which meant it would be impossible for her to work and dad would do any job he could to get us money, he always said, “There’s no shame in working hard to provide for your family. ” He would go out to work at 6 and come back in at 11 at night, he was a hero to us.

It wasn’t just at home that money was a problem, at school it was also a big issue. We were picked on and beaten up because we never wore cool clothes and we were given free lunches by the school, I hated that, I would never let them give it me free I would always pay whatever I could for it. The popular kids always used to play tricks on us and make fun of us, even when we made the baseball team they still said we were losers, I used to believe them too.

“Yep, it’s about money,” Billy nodded sadly. Our dad’s voice quietened slightly, “I can’t take this anymore, look I need to go out to clear my head. ” Mum said hastily in her irish accent, “Where are you going? ” “The store. ” We heard the door bang and we all got up to go and see Mum. She was sitting in our little kitchen crying, but stopped and quickly wiped her tears away when she saw us, she would never let us see her crying, our mum was amazing, she cared for us so much and would do anything she could to stop us from seeing anything that might hurt us.

Amy wrapped herself in our mother’s arms which hugged her tightly and she kissed the top of her head. “Will Daddy be back for Christmas? ” Amy said through teary eyes. “I’m sure he will my darling,” Mum smiled back her eyes also watery. “But who says we have to wait for Christmas, why don’t we open presents now? ” That was our mum, always looking for the best way to make us happy, putting aside her own feelings.

“Tom sweetheart, go and get the presents from mine and your father’s room will you dear? I nodded and walked to my parents room, I wouldn’t need any help carrying the presents there were only ever a few. As i entered the room all feeling drained out of me, my stomach dropped and I just stared for a few moments. The room had been emptied of all my father’s belongings. When some of the feeling had come back I ran to the wardrobe and flung it open, all his clothes had gone, everything of his had gone. It hit me then and i knew, he’d left us. For good, he wasn’t coming back.

I felt sick at the prospect of having to break the news to the rest of my family, I didn’t know what to do, a tidal wave of emotion had hit me. I felt angry, more angry than I have ever felt in my life. He’d left us without so much of a goodbye. But I didn’t gave time to dwell on my own emotions, my family were waiting for me to bring in Christmas presents and I had to go in and tell them that our father had left us, and break my mother’s heart. It was the worse thing I’ve ever had to do. I walked back to the kitchen feeling dazed, i looked at the floor and muttered, “His stuff’s gone. and that was it, they knew.

For the next few hours there was heart-wrenching sobs from my mother, hysterical crying from Amy and angry, hurt words said by my brothers. The days that followed weren’t any better, as each day passed the harsh reality of the situation sank deeper. He wasn’t coming back. We also discovered he’d taken the little amount of money we had. We had nothing. Me and Jack sold the Christmas presents and got a bit of money from them to keep us going for at least a few days, but what could we do after that? Mum couldn’t work, it was up to us.

We were only fourteen though which meant we only got paid kid’s wages. We did everything we could. We worked at the local hairdressers, washed cars, waited on tables, mowed lawns – basically any job that would take us. We were working just as hard, if not harder as any adult but not getting paid as much. Money was tighter than it had ever been and stayed that way for a long time. Sometimes I felt bitter that I couldn’t go to the cinema or the arcade like the other kids did but I knew if I didn’t work we might not be able to eat or the electricity might have been turned off which motivated me.

Music was a big influence on me, there were bands singing about experiences similar to mine and the things I had to deal with every day at home, school and at work. We were lucky enough to have an old guitar in our attic which I taught myself how to play and that dragged me through the hardest times. But no matter how hard things got Mum would always tell us we’d get through it and would always smile even if she was skipping meals so she could feed us.

I still hate my father for what he did to his children and his wife. Hate’ is a word our mother taught us never to use but I feel in this case it is appropriate. Sometime’s I wonder how he sleeps at night, and I wonder if he thinks about us, and if he misses his little girl and I wonder if he has a new family. I used to wonder if he cared if we were ok. Now I know he never cared, however painful that is to come to terms with. The days when I used to look at my father as a hero are a long lost memory, I wonder if he even knows we’re alive.

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