Dinner at 6

It was around 5:30 pm when Howard arrived from school. I was in the kitchen cooking dinner. Pasta Alfredo with chicken, Howie’s favorite. We were celebrating that night because he had gotten accepted into Stanford University with a full scholarship.

Sam got home at around 6 pm with a bottle of chardonnay. We were ready to celebrate. We all sat down at the table, I opened the wine and I poured a glass for Sam and myself. We started eating when out of nowhere, Howard said: “I’m eighteen years old now. I’m leaving to college soon and I think it is time for me to know who my father is.” I looked directly at Sam’s eyes, I was scared to speechless.


He had asked us that when he was around 6 years old. Sam and I decided to tell him that he was no longer with us, that he was dead. And he was. At least for me.

Sam said “Howie, you know that he’s dead.” She glanced at me. “We told you that a long time ago.” He replied “I know, but I still want to know who he was, what he was like, what he liked to do. I want to know everything about him.” I abruptly said “You can’t. I won’t tell you his name, I won’t tell you anything about him. Now or ever.” He looked at me with a look of discomfort on his face. “Why don’t you want to tell me? Gosh! I’m a grown up now, I deserve to know! I mean, I have the right to know!” he screamed. “Don’t yell at your mother like that!” Sam replied. “I’m sorry, but, but, I’d really like to know!” he then looked at me, “Mom?”. I was petrified, disoriented. I never thought he would ask me that, not now and not in a million years. But I knew he had the right to know, so I decided to finally speak. To finally tell him the story of my life.

“Look, Howard” I said when Sam stopped me and told me, “Honey, you don’t have to tell him if you don’t want.” “No, Sam, it’s time he knows.” She just nodded at me.

“When I was in college I was seeing this guy named Paul, but it was nothing serious. One day he invited me to a bar near his place, so I went not knowing what would happen next.” I took a small break and then continued. “So we are hanging out and he asks me to come over to his apartment. We get there and we sit down in the couch, he offers me a glass of bourbon and I accept it. We start drinking, and he drinks more than me.” I pause again, but now with teary eyes. I continued, “Then he starts touching me, caressing my head, telling me how beautiful I am. He starts kissing me, and I tell him that I’m not in the mood. After that, things just get violent. He puts his hands around my neck and I can feel the hard clamp of his hands on me. I try to stop him, but he squeezes harder. He finally lets go and tells me, “Relax, don’t be so uptight. We’re having fun! Aren’t we?” I say, “No, please let me go,” but he does it again.” I thought I’d vomit, my body was covered in cold sweat and I could not stop thinking “That bastard, that f**ing bastard.” I kept going, “I try to run away but he punches me on the head and I am left nearly unconscious, I feel that my body doesn’t belong to me anymore. He throws me on the bed and positions me underneath him. ” By then, tears rolled down my eyes. Sam held my shaking hand. “He raped me, Howard. And there was nothing I could do about it,” I cried. “I left the minute I could and it wouldn’t be until days later that I would find out that I was pregnant with you. So I decided to have you, to give you a chance in life. And that has been the most amazing decision in my life, because without that, you wouldn’t be here, making me and your mother proud.”

Howard looked at me, he stood up from his chair, he hugged me and whispered “I’m so sorry, mom. I love you so much.”

“I love you too, son” I replied.


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