I Am Not The Father

Vanessa has been calling me very often on the telephone. She believes that we are soul mates because we were born on the same day. The fact that she is married does little to persuade her otherwise.

On the first day of the semester the Student Life organization is throwing it’s orientation fair. There is a Bouncy Castle. Students dressed in inflatable Sumo Suits are pummeling each other with long inflated weapons. The DJ from Radio Station Y100 is shouting something over the loud speakers. And I am serving my scheduled time flipping free burgers on the grill to serve to a long line of waiting students. I have never grilled burgers before. Many remain quite raw.

I look up to see Vanessa approaching the gazebo accompanied by a small boy. She explains that he is her son and that she really wanted me to see him. He is two and a half years old. I look down at him and realize that he looks exactly as I did at his age. I take a break from the grill and stoop down to look him over more closely.

He is a very quiet boy, much like I was. As I stand to return him to his mother, I realize that she is gone. The boy and I spend the rest of the day together as we search the crowds of students for his mother. Many strangers stop us to remark at how cute we look together; father and son. When I explain to them that he is not my son but a boy that bears an uncanny resemblance to me, they scold me for shirking my duty as a father.

By mid afternoon, when the crowds begin to thin, we find Vanessa. She is smiling, I am confused. She takes her son and heads off to wait for her husband near the parking lot…





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