That is how my life went for a while. Whenever Dad had a bad day, I’d get the beating. Even if I’d done nothing wrong. Sometimes my brother would blame me for something he had done. It really didn’t matter after a while; whether I pled my case or not, I was going to bleed anyway.

This continued until I was around thirteen years old. There was one final beating that shook us both. I don’t even remember what I did, or more aptly, the reason I was given for earning the belt. But there I was, taking my usual licks. For some reason, this time, my sobs weren’t as loud. This only made my dad angrier. So he swung harder while telling me how useless I was. How I’d never be anything more than a piece of shit, spit flying out of his mouth. Yeah, I noticed it. That’s how the end began. When I saw how he was spitting and yelling I couldn’t help but to give a slight giggle between sobs. He really went to work on me then. But something happened that I still don’t understand. I went numb. Not mentally numb. Physically. The only thing I could feel was the blood running off of me. After a few seconds of shock at the lack of pain, I looked back over my shoulder and saw more of what made me giggle to begin with. He was literally foaming at the mouth while he continued to berate me and whip me. I laughed. Couldn’t help it. It looked funny. Laughing was the final straw. He took a few more infuriated swings. I was in a full throttled laugh at this point. He stopped swinging. I laughed more. He gave me a sideways look, dropped the belt on the floor, and walked out. Don’t worry though, I felt it all a little later.

I think it was about a week later when my dad had a guest when I got home from school. That, in retrospect, should have told me a storm was brewing. One that would span many years. Anyway, it turned out that this guy was an old Navy friend of my father’s. And he had recently moved to the city we lived in. I should’ve known it couldn’t be so simple.

Apparently I was to begin taking Karate lessons from this person. Dad said it would make me into a real man. I didn’t care what Dad thought, I thought I was in heaven. I’d wanted to learn how to beat Dad’s ass for years. Finally, a lucky break!

But it was only a delusion.

Published September 1, 2012

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