Thursday, August 14, 2008

On Learning How To Take A Punch

I was going to tell you a really hot story tonight, but you can thank the girl on the phone for prompting me to think about heavy shit.

Hey dad, it’s me, the older one. I hope you know I would have died a long time ago if not for you. I love you Dad.

He had a pretty thick Irish accent, but it has faded with age. He used to drink a lot, a habit he seems to have passed on to his eldest. Dad used to beat us up pretty badly, but I never faulted him. Go ahead and call him abusive and you just might be lucky enough to find my .45 jammed down your throat. I love my father.

I got beat up really bad a few years ago, really bad. I thought I was going to die (the fact I was quitting smack didn’t help either), but you…Dad…you kept me going. I will never forget those words you said to me that night, all bruised and broken.

“Did you cry?”

“No sir I took it like a man.”

“That’s my boy.”

I cried when I went to sleep that night, but not because I couldn’t open my eye…because he validated me as a man. As I write these words I am tearing up, because to hear you call me a man (without using the words of course) was the most reassuring thing I have heard so far in my life. He told me, without saying, that I was still the man he wanted me to be on the day I was born.

No, Dad, I sure didn’t cry when they took me, when they beat me. It was the worst pain ever, but not as horrible as letting you down would have been. I love you Dad and I will never fail you.

I remember once when I was younger. My Mom didn’t like something I had said and balled her fist up to knock me on the head. She reached her hand back and let go, but I caught her hand in mid swing before it hit my head. I looked over…THWACK.

I woke up five or so minutes later with my Dad standing over me, holding his fist. “Don’t ever touch yer mother again, boy, or next time yeh won’t get back up.” He stuck out his hand and helped me up; I never laid a hand on a woman again.

See, Dad beat us pretty badly, but we needed it…I needed it. Those punches helped me grow up. I went to school, covered in bruises, plenty of times, but I never told on him. I know he loved us. There were kids that showed off their bruises and got their parents into trouble…never once did I do that. Every beating I took, I deserved. I despised those kids, thought they were so special…we are nothing alike. I earned my beatings, I asked for them and I wanted them. Those beatings made me a man.

So, like I said, call my Dad abusive and I’ll shoot your stomach out of your asshole, I love the man. When he quit drinking as much, he told me on my 20th birthday that he was sorry for hitting us. He didn’t believe me when I said that it made me a man. He was drunk and cried when I told him; it made me cry to see my father as scared as I was. Don’t worry Dad, I will always love you. Everything I do is for you, good or bad; I am living my life just like you told me to.

“Fick me and fick yer mother, this is your life boy, so live it.” No one gives advice like you do, except the people who matter the most, the people who love you so much it makes you cry…

...I love you Dad, I’m sorry for becoming the man I have become. I’m sorry for the drugs and the drinking; I am trying to help myself, but sometime I just need a good ass kicking to set me straight. Sometimes, as weird as this sounds, I wish you still drank every night. I miss the ass kicking; I know you love us, that is why you beat us. Know what Dad? I need a good ass kicking right now…

I love you Dad…beat my ass up please, I need it.

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