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blaqndayBeing the family secret everybody knows about but you is not easy on a child. When a married man has a baby with a single woman, that child knows there is a father somewhere. But when a married woman goes out and gets pregnant, it is so easy to cover it with a lie. I knew I had another brother and a younger sister outside of the six of us in the house. But I did not grow up knowing that I was just like them. The secret was kept between both families. But the problem was that I was so smart that my teachers would keep saying, are you sure you are related to those other kids?

The attention I got compared to my brothers and sisters caused a lot of problems that my young mind could not understand. Like how come everybody else got a nickel for a C and dime for a B and a quarter for an A from my grandparents but my grandmother would cut my grandfather off from giving it to me. He had to sneak it to me on the sly. Or why my next oldest brother could get expensive sneakers paid for by my grandparents to play basketball but if I asked for a few dollars for the book fair I was worked like a slave. Or during school events held the same week, family would drive up in the hood to give us all a ride to go watch my brother play basketball but the next night I had to wait after school with the janitor and a sandwich to sing with the chorus and my mother had to walk in the dark to be the only one in the audience for me and a white teacher would take pity on us and drive us home afterward.

How can you tell a child that nothing is wrong when it is a child a discerning as me? I was a bright shining reminder of everyone’s sins. It would have been easier if everyone had simply told the truth. The man who I thought was my father adored me. And my grandmother hated it. There were times when he would disappear on me and keep me from going with him. I know now that he had no choice. The family needed my grandparent’s support and as I close my eyes, I can see now the hurt in his eyes when he had to deny me so that everybody could eat.

But that all changed when he got on his feet after the divorce with his own place. He said “Lil Guy you got the mind to make a million dollars but it don’t make no sense if you have to spend half of it on people to things you need to know how to do for yourself.” So I learned from him. When grandma needed new windows or a new porch or painting done it was always him and me. None of the others ever showed up to help. There were things he didn’t trust anybody but me to do and she hated it.

Finally a family member cruelly told me the truth. I wasn’t mad at my dad. I was angry over the lies that had confused me my whole life. It hurt him really bad the way it came out and things were never the same. They got what they wanted. My next oldest brother officially became “the true youngest” and nobody had to lie anymore about hating me. When he died, my mother and I sat alone apart from the family and my siblings. Families have their secrets. And despite all the lies, he always told me the truth. It was no lie for him to not say anything. Because to him, I truly was his son. -NEO BLAQNESS