The Father

By Nancy Gerber

The sons resembled his wife, slender and fair with pale skin.  Both were athletes, attackmen on varsity lacrosse.  He watched, huge arms crossed against his chest, as Blake scored and tied the game.  The sun swept behind the clouds and he found himself thinking about his father, a bricklayer who left Naples in search of a better life.  Soft-spoken, a modest man with skin like burnt grain who never finished high school and suffered from ill health, his father passed away before the boys were born.  What would he say as they raced like stallions across the field?  Would his father be proud of him, the luxury car, the grand house he built with his own two hands and his own crew?  La famiglia prima di tutto, family before everything, his father used to say.  Reese, the younger son, scored and their team won.  A roar rose from the bleachers.  Reese kicked a clod of dirt in the other goalie’s face. “Nice game,” he mocked as he strode toward his brother.  The father turned away his head.   

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Nancy Gerber has published short fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction in Mom Egg Review, Adanna, Forge, Exit 13, and other journals.  Her most recent book is What the Living Remember (Apprentice House, 2020), a novella inspired by the experiences of her father, a refugee from Nazi Germany.  She lives in Connecticut.    

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