United States
34° 8' 43.854" N, 117° 28' 2.586" W

Flashback to the year 1995, the year I was brought into this world.
I grew up believing in love.

We use to lie in front of our apartment door and try to count the moving stars; you made me believe the airplanes were part of the universe.
We use to find rocks at the park and paint them into animal replicas; you made me believe I was Vincent Van Gogh.
We use to rent the same VCR’s from the movie rental place on Baseline Ave; you made me believe that place was the greatest place to be.
We use to climb the high school’s fence so you could run up and down the bleachers, while I played marbles on the track with my little sister.
You made me believe you’d stay forever.

I used to know your love as you pushed me on the swing, but seeing the parentless children, pushed them into the sky as well.
I used to know the way you let go of the back of my bike, but pretended to still be right behind me, letting me finally ride fearlessly, without training wheels, on my own.
I used to know how your pencil proved me wrong, as your hand drew the cartoons from my favorite movies, and I taped them to the wall.
I used to know the tree tops you helped me learn to climb, and when I’d get stuck, you’d reach out and catch me as I jumped.
I used to know you as Happy, because that’s what you seemed like, with your smile and your itchy mustache kisses, with your morning cooking and love for my mother’s big pots of soup, with your different colored ties and handsome suits. I never even knew we were poor because you made life an adventure.

I remember when I could call you “Daddy,” now you are a stranger’s face.
Now love is just another four-lettered word.


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