Starved

I would often fast while growing up. Abstaining from food and drink during our holy days as well as other times as is prescribed as a method of coping and self-discipline.

I was barely a teenager. Searching in the bathroom cabinet for an item that I can no longer recall.  The memory jarred forever as I turned my face to meet his fist.

I never heard him calling my name. It was too late anyway. I was too stunned to respond to his unintelligible yelling. He struck again and with a parched mouth, I responded, “I didn’t hear you.”

He continued and my only response was “I am fasting.” Over and over from the floor of the bathroom I repeated this phrase. I could restrain my tongue, but I could not control the hate building in my heart, nor the tears streaming down my face.

The thirst I felt during those days of fasting was of no comparison to the hunger to feel the love of a father rather than his fists.

Soon I would turn to leather, void of all moisture, resilient and coarse, never again longing for nourishment. Rather, I would thrive in the baking heat of the vast, barren desert that was my home.

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