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Mi Papá This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

“Mama … mama … mama …”
My first word. At first it was heartwarming. Until the word was on repeat.

“Mama … mama … mama!”

But then I started listening to – and repeating – what was said around me.

Sí.

A simple Spanish word. A word that can be used in so many ways. And it was my first Spanish word. It was the word that opened my mind to the second most important language in my world.

No.

They go hand-in-hand. A toddler uses this one more than any other. A universal word, Spanish and English.

But no matter what language, “Dad” was never an important word in my vocabulary.

“Why isn't my dad around?”

¿Por qué no tengo un papa que me ama?

I got used to not having a dad. So, I put that importance into other aspects of my life.

¿Porque?

No matter what language you use, he left.

Él salió.

He's been abusive and unhelpful with a lack of confidence. He can't support anyone, even himself. I've never had two parents. I had my mom and this guy I was forced to visit every other weekend – Steve. I have more respect for my mom than she will ever understand, but I have none for my father. Respeto. Something you have to work for. Necesita trabajar por eso. He never did.

He left me. He left my brothers. Él salió. Sometimes, when I really think about it, having no father seems excruciating. No dad to walk me down the aisle. No father/daughter dance at my wedding. Nothing. Then I think, I don't want him there. There are more important people in my life to do those things for me. I'm happy without Steve. Estoy féliz sin mi papá.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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