The Broken Family

Jack and Krystal’s story
The Broken Family

Jack did not always have separation anxiety. He started out okay, being away from his older sister, but it was never a serious problem…until his sixth birthday. Krystal was supposed to be at Jack’s birthday party, but was not able to make it because she got into a car crash, so she was in the hospital.

He’s never had a problem with any other fears or phobias, but when his sister got hurt, it broke his heart.

She had planned to buy a present for her little brother and come home, but the drunk driver in the black Chevy truck was not stopping. Krystal swerved but was not able to make it away quick enough. When Jack was younger he was fine when his sister left their house, but now he has a temper tantrum every time she leaves and does not take him with her.

It was hard enough for Krystal not having their mom around anymore and having to rely on their unstructured, drunk, father to take care of them, rather than have another thing to worry about. But she loved her brother more than anything in the world, so she did everything she could to keep him safe. Rather than leave him alone with their dad, to stifle any problem that may happen, every time she left she would take Jack with her. She used to try to get her father to make a distraction for Jack, anytime she had to leave– even though their dad was not always around because he was always at the bar, or drunk and hiding in his bedroom– that plan did not always work.

Jack used to be very social and loved to play and talk to everyone, but when Krystal went to the hospital, that all changed. He does not play anymore and barely talks to anyone other than Krystal. It was already hard enough for him to deal with his mother leaving and his father barely being around, but when Krystal, his older sister that he loved and cared for more than anyone else in the world, got hurt, he could not take it anymore. All that stress and terrible things happened to a six year old that still barely understands what is going on.

Before Krystal and Jack’s mother left them, they rarely had a time where their parents were not fighting and screaming at each other. With them being 10 years apart, Krystal being 16 and Jack being six, Krystal had to take care of Jack.

Krystal took Jack with her to the store because they needed to buy a present for their father. He was turning 42, so they ordered a cake that said “Happy Birthday Dad” with the candle numbers four and two. They were normally mad at their father for being drunk, self-centered, and not caring about them, but they still had empathy for him, and did not want to ruin his birthday, so they pushed down all their hate and negativity for one day, to make it special for him.

By the time they got home, around 6 p.m., their father was already gone. “Probably at the bar,” Krystal muttered to herself.

“What?” Jack had asked.

“Oh, nothing. We’ll eat this cake when Dad comes home, okay?”

“Okay, sis.”

Krystal put the cake into the fridge, then made her way to the living room and sat on the couch with Jack by her side. Jack yawned, and slowly started to drift off. Before he officially fell asleep he looked at his sister, yawning again.

“It’s okay, little bro. Take a nap, get some sleep. I’ll wake you up when father gets home.”

“Thanks sis,” Jack said and fell quickly asleep.

Not long after Jack fell asleep, Krystal started to fall asleep too. She woke up about an hour later and realized that her father had still not come home yet.

“Really, Dad? You’re gonna stay out all night?” Krystal said to herself. Not realizing Jack had woken up too.

“Is Dad still not home?”

“Uhh, no Jack, he’s not. I’m sorry, I know you wanted to tell him happy birthday and give him his present.”

“It’s okay sis, it’s not your fault.”

“I know. I mean I guess it’s his birthday, so he can do whatever he wants, but still. I wish he just cared a little more. It’s like he doesn’t care about anyone anymore… especially us.”

“Sis, do you think Dad will ever change? Will he love us again?…like he used to, before Mom left?”

“I don’t know Jack, he doesn’t really pay attention to anything we do or say, it’s like we’re invisible to him.”

“I’m sorry that dad doesn’t like us, sis. Is it…?” Jack began to say but got cut off by a loud thud.

“What was that?” Krystal asked.

“Ow!” they heard a deep voice say.

“Dad? Is that you?” Krystal called to the voice.

“Huh, oh, yeah,” the voice replied.

Jack and Krystal got up from the couch and made their way to the front door where their dad was standing. “Dad? Why…why are you all dirty and bloody?” Jack asked his father.

“I got into a fight at the bar. I’m going to bed, good night kids.” Their father rushed out.

“But dad, what about your present we got you and the cake we bought for you?” Jack called to his father as he left the room.

“We can eat it some other time, I’m too tired right now.”

“Oh, okay,” Jack said, quiet and sad.

“I’m really sorry, Jack,” Krystal told him.

“It’s okay, I guess,” Jack replied. “Maybe he just needs a timeout. That’ll teach him,” Jack said laughing.

“That’s funny, Jack,” Krystal replied, laughing back.

“You should learn from me. I’m very funny,” he said with a wide smile.

“I guess I should. Come on, let’s go to bed,” Krystal replied, taking Jack’s hand and pulling him to his room.

“‘G’night Jack,” she said, walking out of the room and turning off the light.

“Good night, sis!” Jack yelled to her as she closed the door.

The next morning Jack woke up around 7 a.m. He walks out of his room and into the kitchen. He figured Krystal would be in the kitchen like she normally was, every morning, but this time it was not Krystal who was in the kitchen waiting for him, but his father. “Hi, Dad,” Jack said.

“Hey,” he replied. He turned around and Jack noticed that he was chewing on something.

“What are you eating, Dad?” Jack asked.

“Cake, you know, the one you and Krystal bought. It’s really good. My favorite cake flavor”

“Yeah, I know, that’s why we got it for you,” but it was not Jack that had said this, it was Krystal.

“Well hello sleepy head.”

“Jack go upstairs. I need to talk to dad.”

“Aww man,” he said then started to walk up the stairs.

When Krystal knew for sure he was out of earshot she started yelling. “Okay, I know you are sad because Mom left and yesterday was your birthday, so you didn’t think you needed to spend time with us, but I am sick of you acting like you love us and care about us one minute, then ignoring us and drinking and not being around all the time!” Krystal said in such a rush that she was not sure if he heard all of what she had said.

“Okay,” he replied.

“Are you serious right now?! That’s all you have to say? ‘Okay,'” She started to scream. “I just got off the phone with Aunt Steph. She said that you are unstable and not right to take care of us. She said that if we wanted to, we could go live with her for a while,” she started to calm down.

“Hmm. Well if that’s what you want. Go ahead”


“Yeah. I’ll be at the bar. I don’t care what you do. Have Steph call me when she picks you guys up, so I’m not here ’til you’re gone.”


He got out of his seat and grabbed his car keys and walked out the door. About a minute later, he was gone. Krystal walks up the stairs to see Jack sitting on the floor crying. “Oh Jack, I’m so sorry.” She sits next to him and gives him a hug. “Do you want to live with Aunt Steph? We don’t have to. I just figured we would be better off living with her instead of with dad.”

“Yeah, living with her is fine. I just hate that you and Dad were fighting. Reminds me of when Mom and Dad fought all the time.”

“I know and I’m sorry. He just makes me mad.”

“Me too.”

“How ’bout we get packed?” She said, letting go of him.

“Okay,” Jack replied. They get up and start to grab anything they want to take to their Aunts. About half an hour later, she shows up. They load their suit cases in the trunk of Steph’s car then get in the car. “Bye, house,” Jack said before he shut the car door.

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