My father was a brawny simple man who developed diabetes in his forties.
For many years my mother excused his fits of rage on the disease.
Growing up we walked on egg-shells around him so as not to trigger the anger.
When it couldn’t be helped he always went for his belt drawer. He had them in all shapes and sizes. Some were made from crocodile hides, others were thick hunks of black and brown leather.
I still remember the fear and dread when he commanded us to stay put and await his return. My back, arms, chest, legs and face still recoil when I remember the flash of heat they sensed when the belt whipped the skin.
Once the rage subsided he paced away gruffly. Muttering, cursing, and perhaps looking for other opportunities to start up again.
My on-looking mother would then remind us of his diabetes.


The three of us had been sitting impatiently for over an hour. Trying not to wrinkle the clothes that she had pressed and fuzzed over earlier in the day.

My mother paced the living room. Constantly looking at the clock and cursing under her breath. Though I could still hear the occasional swear word.
He arrived, he had been drinking. HEAVILY!
I remember the moment that her disappointment and concern turned into scorn. The afternoon meant an important Mexican celebration and we were late and he was unstable.
She raised her voice in protest and after a few minutes of berating him she asked us all to get up. We would go to the event without him.
That lit the fuse.
He was a Mexican detective and his side arm was at the ready. With instinct on his side he swiftly drew the weapon and brandished it toward her.
My body went numb with fright.
He yelled. He had been disrespected and that was unconscionable.
Like a charging bull he sped towards her and she was unable to move from the incoming force. With the full force of his arm he let the full weight of the weapon’s steel smash at my mother’s mouth.
In an instant, her jaw was mangled and to this day continues to have issues with her teeth.
My sisters and I rushed outside and looked on to them for an eternity from a window.
He sat her on the couch and he placed himself in front of her. Their dialog only available to them.
The effects of earlier excesses eventually led to sleep and allowed his captive to sneak away and gather her frightened children.
On a side note. My dentist called today. My teeth need to be looked at.