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Life used to be good.

I would jump out of bed every morning, fresh as a lark. I would bike to my neighborhood elementary school, playing with my classmates, laughing, joking, making new friends.

I would reach home around 3pm, finish my homework, play my favorite games on my computer, doing everything I could possibly desire in life.

Every evening, my father would arrive back from work, a benign smile on his face, and I would race up to him, leaping up and feeling his strong arms embrace and twirl me around.

My mother would whip up a splendid dinner of meat and the freshest vegetables you could get. Occasionally, she would hide sweet, dainty treats in the food; perhaps it was impaled in the chicken, or maybe subtly arranged alongside the celery. Every time we found a treat, we would giggle in childish glee, hastily wolfing down the candy lest it got stolen.

We would then lock in a one-minute embrace, to celebrate our lives, our being together as a family, our blood deep relationship.

It was Bliss.

All that changed.

It was not the slow, gradual transmogrification and decline of a relationship.

It was a cruel, merciless, harsh realization dawning upon my young and feeble mind.

No longer did my father return from work punctually. The times of his arrival became largely randomized, sometimes coming home at 7, sometimes at 10. So much so we gave up having dinner together

My father had to work overtime. Why? To raise money. The prospect of coming home to a scrumptious, filling dinner immediately dissipated. Just for the sake of some meager, measly pittance my father desired.

Instead of the once-perfect cooking of my mother's, we were pitifully confined to the perimeters of takeaway food. The food was often icy-cold and...