My fathers

October 26,2009
Talia's Blog
Talia Rivera( )

Talia Rivera is a 33-year-old mother of two. As Executive Director of Villages without Walls, she works with high-risk gang members in Boston. [Read more]

"Frankie is your father," my grandmother said. Looking through my mother’s photo albums I found a picture of me with this man, Frankie. I’m a toddler in the photo. Frankie wears a shabby brown leather jacket and a fisherman’s hat. He holds me in his arms. I’m wearing a brown coat with rainbow colors on the sleeves, and a fisherman’s hat like his. We’re both smiling. Frankie looks like a nice guy. My grandmother told me the story of how Frankie died. He was driving home on a motorcycle he had bought for his older daughter, when he was hit by a bus. "He loved you," my grandmother said. I don't remember this man, Frankie, who might be my father. "Herk is your father," my mother said. There weren’t any pictures of me with Herk in the photo album. I met him once. I was eleven. My mother introduced us. I wasn’t sure what to call him. "Hi Herk," I said. It was obvious he was there for a reason, but it wasn’t me. Herk and my mother went into the kitchen. I heard them scheming. My mother picked up the telephone and made a call. She called Ray. Ray was a chubby Dominican who wore linen slacks and shoes without socks. Ray sold weight. He was my mother’s coke connection. When my mother got off the telephone she said, "Get in your room and don’t come out until I say so." The door bell rang. Then I heard a knock on the door. It was Ray. I heard commotion like someone was fighting. I snuck out of my bedroom. I saw Herk with both of his hands around Ray’s neck. Ray was beet red. "Give me the stuff," Herk threatened. When Herk noticed me, he yelled, "Get in the room! Get in the room!" I ran back to my room. When I again snuck out, Ray was gone. My mother came out of the closet in which she was hiding; and she and Herk went back into the kitchen. That was the first and last time I saw this man, Herk, who might be my father.