Fran­cisco and Os­car

Hello Mr. Magazine - - BELONG TO SOMETHING -

I was the mid­dle child. And the only boy, so I was very close to my mum, and this meant my dad was al­ways in the way – com­pe­ti­tion!

Then, less than twelve months af­ter we moved from El Sal­vador to Aus­tralia, my mother passed away from breast cancer. I was eight years old. Our world was shat­tered and my dad had to step up his game as fa­ther and learn how to be a mother.

Dad worked his ass off to get us through school and into adult­hood. He be­came a hero fig­ure in my life who rep­re­sented many things I might be – star soc­cer player, life of the party. He al­ways seemed to be out of reach, and car­ried with him a hint of what my mum had meant for me up un­til I lost her – the world.

I came out to him at twenty-three. I had only re­ally come out to my­self a year be­fore that. Com­ing from a Latin Amer­i­can back­ground, dad’s first re­ac­tion was dis­be­lief. I was “too ma­cho,” he said. We were liv­ing alone at the time so we en­dured three very awk­ward days. Af­ter at­tempt­ing to give me “the talk” he had been mean­ing to give me since I was fif­teen (“the thing about women is…”), he con­ceded that he would be be­hind me no mat­ter what.

For a long time I could only see my dad as a dis­ap­prov­ing op­pres­sor - he was to blame for my life’s lim­i­ta­tions. But as I’ve opened up to him more, I have come to re­al­ize that the op­pres­sor lived only in my mind. We are the same: we love con­ver­sa­tion, ro­bust de­bate, and find­ing an­swers to ques­tions with no an­swers. I am amazed by our grow­ing re­la­tion­ship and at how read­ily my dad meets me in con­ver­sa­tions about art, hu­man­ity, and per­sonal growth. Topics that would have been garbage to the fic­tional op­pres­sor!

Dad doesn’t so­cial­ize much, hav­ing worked so hard his en­tire life. So he now openly tells me that I am his best mate. I am his hero now just as he was mine. From my neme­sis to my hero to my fic­tional op­pres­sor to my mate to my num­ber-one fan. Just two blokes with a whole lot in com­mon and a mu­tual re­spect that can never be bro­ken.

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