“Dad I don’t know. I feel myself slipping. Like, I don’t understand this whole “life” thing. Don’t know where to go, what to do, how to live. I’m lost man. Like, I’m struggling so much trying to maintain. Its so hard dad. I just don’t understand how I can continue.”
“Son. Come here.”
The boy walks over to his father.
The father does a quick & strong punch to his stomach.
“Argh!” The boy shouts in pain
The punch makes the boy stumble & fall down on his knees holding his stomach. A tear falls down his face. “W-w-why did you punch me?”
“What are you feeling right now?” The father asked
“Pain in my stomach.”
“Give it a few seconds.”
The boy still sat on his knees holding his stomach.
“Now how does it feel?” The father asked
“It still hurts.”
“Does it hurt as much as before?”
“Whats happening now?”
“I don’t know. The pain is still there.”
“But is it going away?”
The boy slowly gets up off his knees holding his stomach still.
“Does it still hurt?”
“N-no. Not really.”
“So what did you realize?”
“That you just punched & hurt me.”
“No no boy. Use your brain.”
“I don’t know dad.”
The father taps on the boys forehead. “Think son.”
“I mean…I was hurt. But now I’m not?”
“Close enough. Pain is temporary son.”
“I don’t know where it clicked in your head that you have it bad, but let me tell you something son. You have it easy. Growing up in my time, you would not last an hour. I didn’t have a father to teach me anything. Nobody taught me shit about what to do in life. Nor was I taught that pain would be temporary. I’ve been through the worst things. Young & reckless at seventeen, in & out of jail, no guidance, & then having you existing while we all didn’t even have a pot to piss in. No help, no support. Them people I called “bros” & “friends” you think where there when it was pouring rain on my days? We were expected to fail. I thought the pain would last forever. But did it?”
“Exactly. Pain only lasts forever if you are too weak to deal with it. You think I liked having us all suffer because of my fuck ups in life from not knowing a damn thing? You think I wanted to keep having nights of us struggling to find somewhere to sleep? To hear you crying & unable to provide for my own flesh & blood?”
“We paved the way for you son. Through the worst times in our lives we made a way for you. You are fresh off the boat into adulthood. We had to jump off the boat before we got to it. We had to grow up early to provide. We kept telling you don’t rush your childhood. Because once its over, its over son. No more handouts, no more being told what to do, no more holding your hand to walk across the street. Today’s reality could not ever compete with the one we lived in. They practically give you instruction manuals on what to do in life now. We ain’t have that shit.”
The boy wipes off the tear mark from his face.
“Let that punch be a lesson to you son. Don’t you go through life complaining & whining when the going gets tough. Don’t you go through your life ever feeling like you don’t have the strength to get something done. Because I been there. I could’ve taken the cowards way & ran away from all the shit I had to deal with. But nah, I’d be damned if I was to let my one & only son suffer because of me. But for you to think you’ve got it all bad because things ain’t all flying colors for you? You’re disappointing me son. I taught you better than that.”
The boy’s head dropped.
The father lifted his head up by his chin. “Chin up damnit. You’re about to be a man now son. We don’t walk on this earth with our heads down. If I survived through all the bullshit in this reality & still hold my head up high, then I know damn well you can.”
The father then pulls his son to him & hugs him tightly.
The boy returns the hug, but weakly.
“Boy you call that a hug?” The father teased
The boys grip & hug tightens.
“Attaboy. You got this. I love you son.”
“I love you too dad.”
– Father Figure