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John was jogging on the beach where the sky was blue, the cool wind was stronger than usual and the waves were rolling in quickly. John was jogging close to the water, so he could feel a light ocean spray on his face as he continued to run his daily five miles.
At seventeen years of age John only had one goal in life and that was to be a U.S. Navy seal. He was in ROTC at school, he made good grades and he was clearly physically fit. His father was a marine who died in Iraq when John was three years old. His father’s picture stayed on a shelf in the living room as his mother had never remarried.
John kept his blonde hair cut short and he had piercing blue eyes. At six feet tall he weighed one hundred and seventy pounds. John jumped in the shower when he got back home as he had school in an hour. His mother, Julie, was working in the kitchen.
“John, I fixed you the protein drink you like, but you are going to be late if you’re not ready for school yet,” said Julie.
John walked into the kitchen, “Thanks, Mom. I’m ready.” He gulped down the protein drink, then took his backpack and headed out the door. John jumped into his recently waxed, red 2014 Honda Civic and headed to school. He put the windows down and turned the music up for his ten minute ride.
He was in his senior year and only attended school for a half a day. Then, in the afternoon he went to work at an auto parts store stocking shelves and waiting on customers as needed.
Navy ROTC New Student Indoctrination
Saturday Night Party
On Saturday night at seven John picked up Lori at her home. She was a beautiful classmate of Johns. Lori had dark hair with green eyes that were a reflection of her Irish ancestry. John and Lori had been dating for a few months.
They were headed to another classmate’s house for a Saturday night party. They had a lighthearted relationship, laughing frequently and getting along very well. John didn’t think longterm about the relationship. He cared about Lori but his goals for his life came first.
Sunday's Shocking News
On Sunday John still woke up early and went for a run. His mother wasn’t up when John left. After the run he found his mother in the kitchen with a cup of coffee. She had made some blueberry muffins so John grabbed one and headed to the shower.
On Sunday afternoon John heard the doorbell, so he answered the door. John saw a cocky looking man standing on the porch. The man was as tall as John with blond hair and the same blue eyes. He didn’t say a word but just looked at John.
John looked at the man who didn’t say a word.
John said, “Can I help you with something?”
“No, I just wanted to see what you looked like.”
John replied, “Really? Why would you want to do that?”
“You are my son and I have never seen you until now.”
“John, who is at the door?” Julie asked.
John looked at the man like he was crazy. “My father died in Iraq. I don’t think this is funny.”
His mother rushed to the door and said, “Let me handle this, John. Would you go into the other room, please?”
“No mother. I want to kick this guy’s ass.”
Julie looked at the man and said, “Listen, Keith. What are you doing here? That was not our deal. Get the hell out of here.”
John exclaimed, “Mom, do you know this man?”
“Please John, just go in the other room and I will explain him to you in a few minutes.”
“Mom, I don’t want to wait. I want to know who this man is and why he is here.”
The man had been standing quietly on the porch with a smirk on his face. He finally said, “Boy, I am telling you the truth. I AM your father.”
“Mom, who is this man?” John almost yelled.
“John, I am sorry that I have not told you the truth over the years. This man is your father. I was ashamed to tell you as this man has been in jail for a long time.”
“How could you not tell me? Who is the man in that picture? If that is not my father then who is he?
”Oh, John. I wanted you to have a father you could be proud of, not a man who broke the law. The man in the picture is my oldest brother.”
“You still haven’t told me who the man is!” John yelled.
“John, listen, please, I never thought Keith would come here. He promised he would never bother us, but here he is. He is no more than a sperm donor and he has never been a father to you. I am sorry I lied. I just wanted you to grow up happy,” Julie pleaded.
“I don’t want to talk to you Mom or Keith. Both of you leave me alone!” John stormed outside, got in his car and left.
“Thanks, Keith,” said Julie. “Now, see what you have done.”
“You are the one that lied, Julie.” said Keith, “not me.”
“Regardless, you promised you would never come here. I have never received a penny of child support, so why do you think you have a right to come here and upset us?”
“I figure I have a right to meet my son. He is almost grown now, so what is the big deal?”
“You saw how upset he was, so it is a big deal to John,” stammered Julie while crying.
“Okay, okay. I will go away,” said Keith. “That boy does have a right to meet his father.”
While crying Julie slammed the door.
Sitting on the Beach
John drove to the beach, which was a place of peace to him. He sat on a log. He was so angry but realized he was hurt more than angry. He really did understand why his mother didn’t tell him about his real father but pretending the picture was his father hurt the most.
He thought his mother had been a very good mother but this deception really bothered him. He sat by the ocean listening to the waves and it was the middle of the night when he decided to go home. His mother was sitting near the door when he got home.
“Mom, I get why you lied but it is not okay. I don’t want to talk about it right now,” He saw how upset she was and John knew she had been crying but he was still angry.
Bob Seger- Turn the Page
Sorting Things Out
The next morning John sat at the kitchen table with his mother. “John, I know how upset you are. I should have been honest but I didn’t want you growing up knowing your father was in jail. Plus, we only had a few dates and I knew he was not for me.”
John replied, “I understand your motives but you could have just said my father took off. What really bothers me is the picture of your brother that you said was my father. I thought my father was this wonderful, brave man.”
“I know, John. I came across the picture one day when I was cleaning out some drawers, and I thought it would be so nice for you to have a picture. My brother was a very good man and you would have looked up to him. I know that is irrelevant at this point.
John, I can only say how sorry I am and I hope you can forgive me,” Julie pleaded.
“Mom, I love you and I have no interest in spending time with my father. I will forgive you but I am still upset right now. Put the picture away so I can deal with reality.
“Thank you, John. I promise there will be no more lies. You can ask me anything at all.”
“Okay, Mom. Let’s take a day at a time. I don’t like being mad at you. I love you, Mom.”
Julie and John's Relationship
© 2020 Pamela Oglesby