Conclusion to the intro to my latest manuscript… My dad didn’t abide any person making sport of anyone, and no reason was acceptable. That’s what landed me in the hot seat. I guess I made two mistakes. The biggest one was being caught by a salty and sour school teacher by the name of Mr. Stroker. The other one was making fun of another kid at school.

image courtesy of shutter

My dad sat beside me on the bed, his elbows bent, hands on his thighs, his head down, eyes shifting, as if he was searching for a brown spider in the thread bare carpet of the same color. His belt was resting between his mighty thumb and fingers, his light green eyes faded. Then he told me he was disappointed in me. I was thinking that I could live with that, especially since I was getting ready to get a beating. But he didn’t move, his serious green eyes were in search of brown spiders, and he told me a story.

My dad gave me a glimpse into his life as a child. He told me about how kids at school made fun of him ‘cause he didn’t have no shoes to wear to school. That’s when I got a knot in my throat. He went on to tell me that he never would have thought that one of his own kids could ever make fun of another person. I hung my head and cried. “Great,” I thought to myself, “Now I get to hurt on the inside and the outside too.”

But my dad stood up, grabbed me by the chin with his thumb and forefinger, pulled my chin up to look him in the eyes that had come back to the moment. He told me that he better never, ever, hear of me makin’ fun of no one ever again, said we were made by God to protect the weak, the ones that couldn’t protect themselves. Then my dad, who was bent on teaching me to be a proper man, turned and walked out, threading his belt back into his patched and faded work jeans.