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John Bonanni reflects on his children.

Published onJul 21, 2020

My daughter has my hurt in her.

She lives with it better than I have. I hid it, softened it, made it acceptable, and then called my compromise a success. An achievement of normal. She faces it, endures it, mocks it by parody, dismissal, lightness. No big deal. It is what it is, she says.

But deep inside her, damaged hopes and dashed dreams hang within her like a buoy floating, reminding her of another shot. Every rise of a wave of maybes met with the pull that ties her down to no, not this time, maybe not ever. Anchored to the wasteland of bottom feeders.

Just waiting for it to be all over. So she can have another shot. Maybe this is where she belongs, she says, she hopes, but not with too much expectation. But with relentless persistence.

Her power is like iron, resistant and impenetrable. They have no idea what they pass up.

She is an oncoming train, with no intention of stopping. A lioness, standing you down, a protector, a sentry.

Her love is righteousness, her integrity is commitment, pulling at the buoy with every rise, until she is free.

My son is everything I had hoped to be.

My son is the charm, the right stuff. The achiever, the master builder, the perfect calculator. Everything right, all is proper.

He fears nothing, except a blank page. 

He plans, he pleases, he avoids confrontation. He reduces risk. He makes it nice. Always nice. He has permanence, structure, character, intelligence.

He provides assurance where there is concern, trust where there is doubt, solution where there is difficulty.

He loves within a framework, his passions contingent upon outcomes.

Until he flies. Then, he soars. There he is alone, forever invincible. Endlessly creative.

He will not take you there, but he will return. His integrity demands it of him.

John Bonanni’s new memoir is a rip-roaring look at life in show business. His work is in Adelaide Magazine, San Antonio Review and the Raven’s Perch. He received his MFA from Western Connecticut State University.

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