My Father

014 Peter M. Raptis

He was Pete to my mother and his friends, Junior to my grandparents, Papa to my sisters and brothers and larger than life to me.

 “…My father died in a car accident, two blocks from our doorstep, when I was eleven and my mother was seven months pregnant. He was plucked out of our lives just when we were getting to know each other. Some things I’d prefer not knowing about him, but there were many more that made me feel grand and most of all safe.

As a family, we never recovered and have walked through life with a limp in our hearts. My father’s death at thirty-eight slayed our Nana Herminia, who had only one child, and while she adored us, the mere reflection of her son’s features or mannerisms in any of us would send her over an angry edge. She once railed at us with tequila breath, a machete in one hand, rage spewing, and while my sisters shielded my petrified younger brothers, even they knew it was her heartache and loneliness emerging. I wanted to avoid that kind of torment at all costs…”

Excerpt from  Stretch Marks