Resilient is a personal essay about a newspaper article that portrayed my family as being highly dysfunctional and abusive, while looking at how I saw my family growing up.

            I look back up when I hear my name mentioned. The woman is saying goodbye to me as she thrusts her hand in my general direction.

            “Good luck,” she says, “and I wish only the best for you.”

****

            It’s one of the last track meets of my sophomore year and I look around again to see if my dad is anywhere to be found. I see my mother, stamping her feet to shake the water out of the bottom of her shoes. She yells to me that she hates the rain. I shake my head. She only bothered to show up today because I begged her.

            The discus field at Granville High School sits on top of a large hill about a quarter of a mile from the track. There are no trees to provide shelter from the onslaught of rain as the athletes huddle under umbrellas or cut up trash bags into makeshift ponchos. I actually remembered to bring a real poncho, a bright red one that my friends wrote “Clifford” on the back of as a joke. Despite the obvious “big, red dog” reference, I wear the poncho and squint through the rain.

            My dad appears over the hill and I gasp. I haven’t seen him in over a year.

            “Don’t expect too much,” my mom whispers as I begin to walk towards him. “He just got released a couple days ago, AMA.”

            I stop and mouth “AMA” back at her.

            “Against Medical Advice,” she answers.

            He talks to me, but the words don’t make sense. He talks for a moment about track, but switches suddenly to the Bible. I smile wanly as he waves his arms. He begins to shout, knocking his glasses off his face. He laughs loudly, waving his fist in the air, shouting that “they” will never get him.

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