It’s late at night, and I’m lying in bed, crying. I’m 6, maybe 7, years old, and I’m all alone.

I don’t mean that there is nobody in the room. I mean, I am all alone, by myself, in the apartment. The apartment belongs to one of my father’s best friends, and we are staying there while he is away.

I’m crying because I’m scared. I’m scared that my father is never going to come back. That something terrible will happen to him, and he’ll be gone.

My father is out drinking.

I don’t quite understand what this means – I don’t know about alcoholism, addiction, or what drinking does to the body and mind.

I only know that it is very late at night, and I’m all alone, and scared that something will happen to my father, who is my entire world, and that he won’t make it back to the apartment.

Years later, in looking back, I of course recognize that this is heightened by an unarticulated fear of being abandoned. My mother had abandoned me at the age of 3, leaving me with my paternal grandparents and simply not coming back for me. My father had stepped up to the plate and came for me and took me to live with him. He would never have intentionally abandoned me.

But still, something might happen – you never know, when you are 6 or 7 years old … lying in a dark apartment… late at night …by yourself … crying in your bed.

Eventually, I hear the happy sound of a happy drunk bumping his way up the stairs to the second floor apartment, and I, in relieved exhaustion, drift off to sleep.

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