i bought my first pair of combat boots the year you said you were going to put on your old fatigues and stomp my head in.
as if some steel-toed footwear at the end of my 13-year-old legs was going to intimidate that image out of your mind.
you bought my brother a full sized air hockey table for christmas.
i changed my favorite restaurant the year you put your hand on my throat and told me that in Vietnam, they taught you how to kill a man with one finger.
as if you knew the servers wouldn’t step in because you were a regular.
you introduced me to the beatles while i sat on your knee next to a shiny new record player.
i started to hate the smell of rain the year i came home to all my worldly possessions dumped on the grass in your front lawn, an eviction notice.
as if the note on the door wouldn’t sufficiently remind me that i had forgotten to make the bed that morning.
today, you shook my hand and said “hi, i’m john.”