Broadway Night

After Nights on Broadway by the Bee Gees 

TW: Familial abuse

The radio was all we had after the divorce, and I was all my dad had. After 18 years, my mother and sister were finally free from the man that held them captive. They weren't bound by physical chains and locks but from something stranger and more robust. The the court battle left me with my father and a house with bills he could no longer afford. We lived on borrowed time, and the bank statements and unpaid electric bills that were stained in claret ink were watching. One afternoon my dad emerged from my sister's room with her old Bose radio. Later that day, he went to the local Dollar Tree and came back with several packs of D Cell batteries, and for the first time since my mom and sister left, we felt as if there was life in the house again.  

That night, by the light of the candles, my dad and I sat together on the couch in front of the radio, which was  placed on the coffee table amidst an audience of various take-out menus. I watched as he scrolled through static waves before landing on FM 95.7. Then out came the voice of Barry Gibb. Suddenly, the man before me, whose excitement was only invigorated by the opening of a beer can, softened into the teenager that he was in his youth. 

"It's Nights on Broadway by the Bee Gees," he remarked in disbelief. Setting his Bud Light down, he began to sort of groove in his seat. The motion started at his feet, and it rippled up through him to his arms, to his hands that were now raised, but not towards me. 

"Blame it all on the nights on Broadway. Singing them sweet sounds...I will wait, even if it takes forever... Somehow, I feel inside you never ever, ever left my side, make it like it was before. Even if it takes a lifetime, even if it takes a lifetime." 

Even if it takes a lifetime. I think about how 18 years was a part of my mom's lifetime. I recall the nights she'd beg for deliverance from my father as he embraced her face with his palm, and how I'd retreat to safety upstairs in my sister's bedroom. We'd sit and listen as they danced out their differences below us. Unlike what Barry Gibb sang, there was no way of making it like it was before, as this night on Broadway was just him and me. My eyes drifted to the candles burning next to the radio, and I thought about how they would eventually extinguish like the time my father and I had left in our house. But at that moment, the stage lights were on us, and for the first time in a long time, I felt like I could see my father.

About The Author

Syd Vinyard is a poet, prose writer, and undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where they currently serve as the Editor-in-Chief for Furrow. This is their debut nonfiction publication.