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TITLE: BBNB8-He Cried Like A Baby
By David (The Goliath Assassin)

This is an important read for those who have been engaged int the BBNB series so far. Not only is this the last of three last names, but it also sets up one of the very last BBNB poems that will complete the series.

As always, comments on both content and style are appreciated. This series is nowhere near its final draft. Then again, no drafts are ever final as far as I'm concerned...
His name was Romero.
It sounded Italian to me, but it’s actually Argentine.
Tall, dark, skinny… and that smile…
Not evil, no… but playful. Mischievous.

He seemed to fit the profile, but always fell just short.
He wasn’t capable of evil.
My mind had been unknowingly set to a pattern.
A pattern of data incapable of leading to a concrete conclusion.
Like a dog who’se been beaten.
But tall, dark and skinny is not enough to identify a potential threat.
And though my mind wouldn’t listen, I knew that in my heart of hearts.

So I became his friend, per usual.
His mom and my mom got along. I trusted that.
He lived in the same apartment complex. I trusted that. Almost.
He had a little sister. I felt weird around her.
I felt like I had to stick up for her when he called her names.
He had a dad. A drunk dad, divorced from his mom.
There was ABSOLUTELY no trust there…

I remember playing legos on the kitchen table.
Knights. Castles. Not my usual Ice Planet and Blacktron.
Daddy called to say Happy Birthday.
Said he could come say “hi” in person.
His eyes lit up and I thought, “stupid fool.”
“He can’t do anything but hurt you now.”
And mother protested, but he cried and cried.
Cried like a baby. The way I used to cry before I stopped entirely.
Before the overwhelming sense of awareness.
Before I became a brutal guardian.

And so he came for a week. Drunk for the entire time.
Couldn’t form a sentence and follow it through to the end.
But he was there pouring his heart out to the boy. And the mom.
Saying things like “I love you,” and “It could work.”
Being told no. Shoved back into bed. Given a fresh ice rag.

He cried like a baby.
He was so attached. So involved. I simply couldn’t relate.
Why care? Why so much? You’re not him. You’re better. Still.
You don’t have to go that route. You don’t have to idolize him.
You don’t have to be like him. You can be better. You can be you.

His sister played mother… with her dad.
Ignorant of what mothers do with dads at night.
Ignorant of the knowledge forced upon me at her age.
She was the happy single mom with the warm bowl of soup.
But she shouldn’t have had to mother her dad.
He shouldn’t have been drunk.
There was no trust there. But he wasn’t evil either.
Unless you call caring too much, and being too stupid to prove it “evil.”

It was a different kind of abuse. Much less traumatic.
Much more emotional. Much more subtle in its infection.
And much more subtle in its transmission.
There’s always a source. He learned to make people angry.
He learned to look pathetic and keep talking without making sense.
He learned to make it almost seem funny.
But it wasn’t a friendly matter. He didn’t do it to make others laugh.
He did it for control. He did it just often enough to feel like he was in charge.
He learned to cry on queue.

He was tall, dark and skinny. I was built like a brick, and short-tempered
Though we tried to be friends, the outcome was inevitable.
He would annoy until he got his way. And I would never let him have it.
He cried like a baby.
Like I did before I became a brutal guardian.
Like I did after I turned on a good friend.
I barely hurt him, but he cried and cried.
And I didn’t buy it one bit. But I cried alone for my trespass.

I wasn’t a guardian to my friend. I was just brutal.
I saw him as an oak, and I chopped him down to size.
He seemed to fit the profile, but always fell just short.
His motive, his smile, his mode of abuse… always considerably more benign.
And while I never felt sorry for making him cry
I have always felt sorry for breaking his trust.
But we don’t talk anymore, and so he no longer tries to control my emotions.
I learned a new language and two distinct dialects from the Romeros.
My sense of awareness found me overwhelmed once again.
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