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The fair was crowded. He never understood why people plan agonizing experiences. He saw an escape. Eyes fixed on a girl as she breezed through, around the age of his child’s mother. Body parts swinging, touching minds, making eyes contact. A magic trick her audience wished, and would dream, to explore and find its secrets.

His beautiful mind was tragic. Suffering from decisions to repeat bad habits. He saw, and, understood and ignored the cure for this self-inflicted disease. Telling himself, All the righteous greats lie and cheat. Coldness gripped him, closed him off, from feelings. Childish-childhood feelings, he felt adults should not feel, or men, at-least tough men. He felt they were tied to submissive fools. The ones that dissuaded parenthood but removed clothes for smooth penetration. Pulling out, before ejaculation, believing it was safe preparation.

Overhead, jets boomed, expanding his son’s senses. Realizing he was touching the sky, he laughed, trembled, and drooled. Happiness struck from helping his son reach heights he would never see. Then dad words were spoken, “you like the planes? You want to fly?” They locked eyes, as the baby and time passed, glimpsing what each feared most. Not living up. The comfort of quitting in private. Smooth quicksand, drowning any move to better life. Nobody would know. Nobody could or would help.

He thought of how hard it must be to breathe. He thought of masks. Ones for masquerades, one’s pilots wear in movies, real enough, to influence belief. He looked at his wonder- eyed son, knowing he would need one. They serve and protect grounded individuals. Minds clouded with dreams beyond their inherited future, protecting truth and lies. He spun and tossed his son faster with each thought of danger. Why do happy moments bring tears?

He felt expectations were killers of personal greatness. Told his son “It’s not your fault. it’s your mother’s. She was supposed to be on birth control.” He remembered; she always wanted kids, how uncontrollable she said, her love was for him. “I LOVE YOU. I want to be with you FOREVER.” He knew she meant those words. They came more during soft hand holds, than gentle, lust -filled, pounding strokes. Women allow men to feel they know the truth, but he was not man enough to admit that.

She was excited about pregnancy. So happy, it made him angry-Men can’t match or compete with that bliss. He never wanted children. He believed, men needed to be alone to grow, become one with their thoughts, faults, pains, and pleasures. Be able to swim freely; enjoy and soak in their screw ups. That made men worth something. Now, he felt worthless. Weak, and poisoned from this invading, growing thing that approached hate with love. Kids have beautiful minds. It’s a shame the world shakes away what parents don’t make them suffocate.

As the jets and clouds dispersed, he remembered he wasn’t supposed to have the baby outside during daylight; according to the mother, it “maximized his allergies.” Of course, he dis-regarded these instructions, they were ridiculous. And in the back of his mind, he wanted to see how tough his son was. Or at-least, if he was a goddamn vampire. Besides, he was the father and could also do what he thought best.

He slid his son into a small, snug stroller as they prepared to leave, opposed to the luxury model he was nagged to bring- it made him nervous, too many buttons. Calm and happy, from one decision he stuck with to simplify his life. Sunlight struck the son’s head, scanning downward. This sight took the fathers breath away, like a sucker punch. He stumbled back. His sons face, under direct sunlight, revealed a truth, scorned fathers never want to be told- his child’s face did not match his own. Behind his mask, was the face of a friend, he wished he hadn’t known. The friend, the child’s mother would faithfully visit to be consoled.

Anthony Markland

I write to breath. I write to give. I write for happiness.

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