The Annals of Malice
It’s never too late for hate!
“Be still!” said my mother as she angrily dabbed the crimson globs of blood from my melon sized nose. No, she wasn’t mad at me, it was dad’s ears she secretly wanted to box! “How could you let this happen…you should be ashamed of yourself?” Her words vibrated between sobs.
“He needs a little toughening up.” snickered Dad.
“They’re just boys… not men!” replied mom through gritted teeth. Dad believed that most rivalries between siblings should be settled with two pairs of boxing gloves. I suppose, somewhat in his defense, the absence of a Father figure in his own Childhood, might be somewhat responsible for his primitive problem solving skills. At the time it was a poor excuse to the nose spread half way across my face.
When you’re the middle monkey in a family of six sons, and the black sheep to bout…well, let’s just say they were an unsuitable couple; sheep and Monkeys never did match well. My brothers all excelled in sports, from baseball to hockey. I on the other hand was more “creative,” shall we say. This just wasn’t acceptable growing up in 1950’s macho America (at least not at our house). The sweltering hundred-degree temperature sent me to the fire escape hoping to find even the slightest breeze. I silently sat there hoping for a rain cloud to burst on the scene...no such luck. The humidity made my t-shirt feel like wallpaper paste, so I stripped it off. What my young ears heard next, would change my life for many years to come.
“I swear I don’t know where we got him from, grumbled Dad, he’s embarrassing.”
“ He’s just different from the other boys. He has his own personality,” whispered Mom.
“Different! He’s a sissy--a shameful sissy.”
Those words sliced my young heart like a dull knife. “Not so loud, what if He hears you? said Mom. You’re his Father for Pete’s sake!” “Well he must get it from your side of the family.” Said dad, as the door shut behind him.
For the next five years, the bitterness and hurt swelled within me until I thought I Might explode; that’s when I traded both of these poisonous vipers for hate; a more tolerable companion by far. Whenever dad made reference to His boys, he wasn’t talking about me. My older brothers were his pride and joy. If it hadn’t been for mom…well suffice it to say she became my savior. She looked for ways to encourage her wounded chick, like a good mama hen. I managed to survive and burgeon in spite of the scars.
Graduation day came and mom was so proud! I was her first child to graduate from High School; my brothers had both dropped out. Secretly I was gloating; like rubbing salt in a wound; it was a sore spot for Dad. When it came time to leave for commencement, my Mom informed me that Dad and I would be going without her. She needed to stay behind and see to the luncheon. My heart dropped like someone had place a millstone around my neck and plopped me into the river. He was the last person whose face I wanted to see as I accepted my Diploma. Even now he was still raining on my Parade!
On the eighteen-mile drive to the Auditorium Dad tried to make small talk--as usual. The tension was thicker than a concrete wall, four-feet thick.
“So we finally got one graduating…about time.” Mumbled
Dad. “Too bad your Mother couldn’t be here, she would’ve enjoyed this.”
Even now you can’t say any thing decent. I don’t know why I should expect anything different from him. He’ll never change. No matter what I do.
My name was announced. My knees were knocking together like old shutters smacking against the window during a windstorm. As I slowly stepped across the stage, there arose a lump in my throat the size of a tennis ball. Hoping that my Dad couldn’t see the tears flooding my eyes, I avoided looking to the crowd. When that Diploma touched my sweaty palm, I could feel the churning of victory with every thump of my heart. This was one time I wouldn’t disappoint. This was my chance to prove him wrong! I’ll show him just how wrong he is—if it’s the last thing I do!