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TRUST JESUS TODAY
The last BBNB was about my mom and other moms. This BBNB is about my dad. I referenced three last names in this series: Cipriani, Cataldo, and Romero. All of these names will be explored throughout the BBNB series.
Feel free to tell me what you think both in terms of mood and poetic form.
I remember playing with Legos all summer while Mom was at work.
Drowning out the plasticine rumbling with home-made cassettes of hers.
Aerosmith, Queen, The Beatles, Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, Elton John and Billy Joel.
I had a stash of my own as well… Ace Of Base, a couple Weird All tapes.
Some Ninja Turtles cassette I got as a stocking-stuffer one year…
All I remember is “Donatello” singing some song about panes of glass…
But nothing I had ever heard before rocked me as much as Pearl Jam, Ten.
I grew to love every single song, but none more than track 3. “Alive.”
“Son,” she said… “Have I got a little story for you…”
What you thought was your daddy… was nothin’ but a….
While you were sitting home alone at age thirteen…
Your real daddy was dieing…
Sorry you didn’t see him… but I’m glad we talked.
Oh, I… Oh, I’m still alive… Oh, I… Oh, I’m still alive…”
Now at the time, I was only eleven.
But do you honestly think I heard that lyric and had no clue as to its meaning?
I was a kid who knew every word to every song on every cassette I got my hands on.
I could sing them all from memory at a moment’s notice back then.
And I never sang them mindlessly. I always had to know what the song was about…
Having been afforded so much time alone as a child may have retarded me socially.
But I believe that during those summers, I tackled more intellectual and emotional issues
Than most children three or more years ahead of me.
“Alive” was from that point on, and will forever be the anthem of my childhood.
That song taught me about a young mother’s perspective…
Taught me about the regrets of an early sex life…
And about the woes of having never met my father.
I could envision two year’s passing… and hearing of his death.
Looking down into his casket with infinity questions which couldn’t be answered.
Fortunately, I got to meet my father before he died.
His last name was Cataldo.
He was already married with children.
Never told my mother.
They didn’t know each other very well.
He was tall and dark and handsome.
And my mom was young and rebellious.
He only saw me once after I was born.
Then was on his way, never to surface again... until later.
I barely remember that time in the doctor’s office.
I saw him standing there, waiting to get his blood drawn too.
We never spoke. Never even locked eyes.
He was so tall and skinny and upset…
The scene has no movement. No direction.
Just a snapshot in time from my early youth.
Everyone told me how much I looked like my mother growing up.
Which probably spared me a lot of stress.
All I got was his eyebrows.
Didn’t even get child support.
Sure the tests had been done, but he hid well.
The courts tracked him down when I was of the age where I didn’t need it anymore.
As far as I know, he still owes my mom back-pay.
So she gets back the money she put forth up-front.
But it’s really helping her, and not so much me…
Maybe I could’ve played the drums in school band
If they’d have tracked him down sooner.
The system is broken so bad, I wonder if it’ll ever get fixed.
But that’s the only sore spot I had growing up.
Not being able to play the drums.
I wanted a dog some days… other days, I knew I was too lazy to have one.
Mom didn’t want to have to deal with any pets.
Now my mom’s boyfriend has a dog in the house.
Where’s the justice in that? But I digress…
He showed himself again when I was sixteen.
Said he was sixteen when his father died.
Said he knew what it was like to be sixteen without a father.
Said he felt bad knowing what I must be going through.
As if I’d just realized he was gone after sixteen years on this earth.
As if I hadn’t been asked multiple times in multiple schools,
“What do you mean, you don’t have a dad?”
“Everyone has a dad. You have to have one. Who is he?”
I didn’t like his explanation when he did show.
Seemed like he was doing this for me to ease his own conscience.
Like answers to some of MY questions was just a helpful by-product.
I may have been too quick to judge…
But what as I supposed to think? Or say? Or do?
After sixteen years, he thinks he’s got the right to distract me from my routine?
Now, to be honest… I was thankful for the data… the timing was just wrong…
But I guess there’s no way of “timing” something like that right.
Any excuse he had was good for me if it was good for him.
So we went out to eat a couple times. Travis, China Moon.
He ordered egg-foo-young.
Showed me an “old photo” of himself when he was fat.
Couldn’t tell if it was before or after the blood tests.
Didn’t comment either way, but congratulated is health mindset.
He did well in real estate. Really well.
Showed me another picture of my five half-siblings.
Three older brothers, and older sister, and a younger brother…
Who almost didn’t happen.
His wife threatened divorce when she found out about the blood tests.
I found it interesting that she never wanted to meet me. Not once.
What I found even more interesting was all of the “things” in the background.
They had a dog. And a pool. And the newest Nintendo…
I let my mom keep the photo, because it bred so much jealousy in me at the time.
I’ve since asked for it back. I don’t know why…
He asked about my interests. I was big into pro wrestling.
We shared a respect for Ken Shamrock.
My dad knew him better from UFC, which was still in its early days.
I’d always considered boxing barbaric.
I favored violence that wasn’t completely real.
I considered my father barbaric by association.
UFC and egg foo young just seemed like an odd mix to me…
I’ve never reconciled it, even to this day…
He asked about my extra-curriculars.
Seemed surprised when I told him I sang in the school choir.
I think I challenged his man-complex a bit.
He looked more comfortable when I said I was in it for the girls…
Which was actually more a benefit in my mind than “the reason.”
I invited him to come to the Christmas concert.
He came late… but not too late.
Said he loved me and that he’d be watching…
I took the stage and sang my best concert yet.
The director didn’t notice.
Neither did my father.
He was gone when I got back.
Left me a gift and a message.
The gift was a gold chain in a small black sack-cloth.
Must’ve been expensive…
But I’d have still preferred a drum kit.
The message was that he had to leave a few minutes before the crowd
If he was ever to get home on time for dinner.
A couple days later, my mother confessed that the message was a lie.
He left five minutes after I took the stage.
That’s what broke it for me.
Why take interest in a man who, for sixteen years, had taken no interest in me?
And now that he’d been given a second chance, had miserably failed again?
And I confess… I didn’t like Ken Shamrock for the same reasons he did.
I gave up. Just decided we were two different people.
My mom probably blocked the next call for me.
Although I had no proof, I placed my trust in my mother’s words.
Through all the years, she’s been more than kind to him.
Answering all of my questions factually and without emotion.
Like she were divulging classified data from a forensic analysis.
Quicker to change the subject rather than criticize my father.
She did a good job discouraging me from taking shots a his character as I grew up...
And, perhaps more to the point, from taking shots at her own.
Whatever the case may be, I am sure they are both better people now
Than they were when I was conceived.
And my mother has afforded me the freedom of thought
To have my own opinion on the matter.
I can never thank her enough for that…
But I’ve still never reconciled the UFC with egg foo young…
And though I’m sure of the truth of her testimony…
Perhaps there were more variables involved in his motive.
I found it interesting that his wife never wanted to meet me.
Not even once.
I’m in no hurry to re-open the case just yet…
But I can’t shake the idea that another investigation may one day be in order.
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