Daddy Dearest

The Stream Press 2011

—Keep your eye on the ball my father said holding the ball in his right hand. With his left hand he smacked me in the head. I was ten.

—That’s called misdirection, he said. Always watch for misdirection.

–Dad, I asked him the following week, can you help me put my bicycle chain back on?

While he was doing that I smacked him in the back with the tire pump.

—What the—? He jumped away from my bike looking angry.

—Misdirection, I said.

That was the beginnings of the beatings and mistrust on both sides that culminated in my getting put into a foster home and my father no longer being allowed to see me unsupervised. He eventually moved away and the day after my eighteenth birthday when I got off the bus after being allowed to finally go home I watched a man watching me. He was sitting on the bus stop bench across the street. I watched as he leaned over and unhooked the leash from his Doberman, never taking his eyes off of me.

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