Debonair and Deprived

“Is that you father?”
acquaintances would ask –
voices deep and dreamy.

Particular about his dress,
meticulous in his grooming,
Dad’s eyes sparkled oceans

his dark, wavy curls
framing a strong face,
his body tall and muscled.

I’d tilt my head sideways,
incredulous at this response,
then realize they’d fallen

for his mask – carefully
debonair, he exuded charm,
a well-rehearsed routine.

It’s his birthday today –
would be, you see, but
Dad passed over long ago.

Tortured, he was, relieved
to be done with a life
so defined by deprivation

for masculinity was only
a shell – housed a restless
spirit, a woman never seen

forced into seclusion by
a society – a family – who
could not/ would not see.

He may be free, but the tragedy
lingers – awareness now so raw
of all that might have been.

“Yes, that it my father,”
I might have said, adding
“A beautiful soul trapped inside.”

(My father was born June 14, 1924, and struggled all his life with his “secret”.  He turned to the Navy commandos at the age of 15, hoping to “beat” his impulses, and then alcohol to numb the pain.  We bore the brunt of his suffering, and were never able to cross the bridge to understanding. I have no pictures of my father, and only this one image of myself as a teen.  We looked very much alike.)

Fandango’s word of the day is debonair.

Daily Addiction is deprive.

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9 comments

  1. Must’ve been hard for all the family – even now, looking back. Secrecy takes a huge toll. Does it ease some of that to write about the family secrets? Ours had a few too, and I shy away from writing about them except in private journal space … thus far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does help to write about it Jazz. I cringe every time I do, thinking the roof will cave in. There is freedom in sharing, and the pain of secrecy is woven so deeply, it is a long slow process of unwinding. I am trying to understand my father as a human being, and not the man who terrorized us for so long.

      Liked by 1 person

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