Steeled

“Have now been 24 hours on this ghastly boat,” Daddy slurs, as he labors to lift his drink beleaguered head. A single stand of spittle still connecting his lips to a wet spot on his pant leg, glistening in the phosphorescent glow of the street lamps as we passed under them. 

“If it isn’t a dream.” He adds cautiously, as he stares blankly out the passenger door window, probably trying to make sense of the host of stationary objects whirring past us as I guide my little car though streets unknown. All the while doing my best to hold my tongue. 

There is a fracas in the street ahead. Traffic slows to a stop. I keep both hands on the wheel. My eyes straight ahead. “Breathe.” I admonish myself in effort to assuage the escalating rage that is quickly taking me over in proportion equal to the level of Daddy’s consciousness.

“Mavie-girl.” He speaks my childhood name with such innocence and tenderness, that it plucks painfully the single remaining heart string that runs between us. I steel myself against the encroaching emotion. Tighten my grip on the steering wheel. “Just missing yer old dad were ya? Stopped round to say hello?”

“Stop it!” I shout, no longer able to contain myself. My angered fists pounding rigorously against the steering wheel. “You can’t just do that! You can’t just act as if I should be thrilled to see you every time I am called out to scrape you off a sidewalk somewhere!”

As the floodgates open, I feel myself melting forward, my head coming to rest on the very wheel which steeled me against him just moments before. I feel the warmth of his hand tentatively coming to rest on the trembling small of my back. And- my heart ceases to race.

This piece, written  in 50 word increments, combines the literary quote “Have now been 24 hours on this ghastly boat if it isn’t a dream.” – Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis supplied by 50 Word Thursday and the photo prompt offered by LRose.

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