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South Carolina Honors College

The Dealer's Daughter

by Kendall Pifer

Time is frozen. Sitting in that courtroom, the coldest of chills traveling down my spine, I can’t help but feel only a little sorrow for my father. The sound of the judge listing my father’s offenses disappear the second I hear them. All the sounds in the room echo across my head like I am inside a cave. In a swift instant, as the judge drives his gavel onto the desk, leaving a slight ringing in my ears, time isn’t frozen anymore. Hearing all the sidebar conversations, all the whispers, and seeing all the faces people make as his sentence is given to him sends another shrill down my back. My father gets forty years and no parole. As I watch him get dragged out of the courtroom I feel nothing. I had not an ounce of myself left to give to that man. I had loved him once, but never again.

As a child he was my best friend, my protector, my rock. My father would always do the best he could with what we had, making me feel like nothing was wrong. At the ripe age of five nothing can be wrong, right? I remember my fifth birthday as vividly as if it were just yesterday. This was the first time my dad forgot my birthday. We had the whole day planned out. Just to start, we were going to get my favorite cotton candy ice cream from our most-loved corner store. After that, we were off to find a new birthday outfit from our local Goodwill. To end the day it was going to be lunch at Hobo’s before dad had to work. But none of that ever happened. Instead, on my fifth birthday, I awoke to the disappointing sound of nothingness. Not one sound coming from anywhere in our two-room crooked apartment. I had spent that whole day waiting by the window to see if he was coming back with a surprise. He never did. The only voice I had heard that day was my own in my head, pleading out to the world wishing for my daddy to come home from wherever he was. He didn’t come back until two days later. He was battered and bruised up like a boxer after a fight. Still, he had come back empty-handed, with nothing but a phony apology and a pitiful excuse, saying that “work had kept him tied up.”

Since turning nine, I had noticed more of his outlandish behavior. There were always random people at our apartment. My bedtime was eight-thirty, but one night I stayed up a little while longer in my room playing with my hand-me-down Barbie dolls. My dad didn’t notice. There was loud music outside of my room, and an abundant amount of yelling. But that was normal when Dad’s friends were over. I wasn’t allowed to leave my room when they were there. I never knew why, until years later. All I vividly remember from that night was exiting my room to get a drink of water. When I opened my door I saw white powder on the coffee table, empty bottles, and a room coated in a thick layer of smoke. Instantly, I started coughing. I made my way into the kitchen undetected. My father was nowhere to be seen.

The rest of that night was a blur. After going into the kitchen, I felt a heavy blow to the side of my head. I woke up the next morning. On the living room couch with nothing but a raggedy blanket on me. I was covered in layers of bruises as if they were my own skin, feeling as abused inside as I was out.

Now here I am today, sitting in this courtroom, feeling the same numbness toward my dad as I did when I was nine. I now have full confirmation as to why my dad treated me in such a way – why I was the only girl who never had her dad on Father’s Day at school, why I was always stuck having to walk home, or cooking dinner for myself. Now I know why my clothes were never new, and why my school supplies were reused. That is the life when you are the daughter of the drug dealer. It is like being in a never-ending competition against substances for your father’s attention.

Kendall Pifer

About Kendall Pifer

Kendall Pifer is a junior at Catawba Ridge High School in Fort Mill, where her English teachers are Mrs. Ashley Sawyer and Ms. Mackenzie Sheehan. The daughter of Nick Pifer and Desiree Pifer and stepdaughter of Jeanette M. Hagen Pifer, Kendall plans to major in digital marketing in college and earn a master’s degree in creative writing.

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