Thirty years ago today, my biological father was arrested and taken away, never to be heard from again. I remember it well because it was Flag Day and Little League practice was cut short so everyone could go to church and pay tribute to the American flag, which was the tradition at the time.
My friends and I walked back to our neighborhood, ran from Crazy Lady McGee’s mean-ass beagle and had a brief rock-throwing war before we split up and went to our homes.
When I walked through my front door, I heard strange sounds coming from my parents’ bedroom. My mom was still at work, and my dad was supposed to be out on a major drug deal “that could change everything,” as he had bragged at the dinner table the night before.
Back then I had the courage of a horror movie teen scream queen, so I walked back to the bedroom and swung open the door. I immediately saw that he was right about everything changing. His dealing had caught up with him. My father was handcuffed to the bed and getting roughed up by a cop who paused to pick me up, toss me in my room and warn me to stay put.
I heard them go out the front door, and I burst out of my room and out of the house and chased the car down the street until it was out of sight and I was out of breath. It was the last time I saw my dad.
To this day, I’ll never forget that image of the brutish officer in her black leather uniform as she beat my dad with her whip. And I… wait a second.