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  • Charles Ruotolo

How to Tie a Tie

Alone, I prepared myself for

my first concert in the fifth grade

pulling my clothes

out of the closet.

My hands shaking,

my stomach sickening.

The floor creaks as I enter the room,

the rapid taps from my father’s computer

get louder as I approach him.

My voice barely produces

the words that my dad almost ignores.

Disappointment forms two creases

in between his two agitated eyebrows

when I ask the question

“How do you tie a tie?”

The next words to exit his mouth

are the words I’ve lived by ever since.

I stare awaiting his response.

The silence was long enough to wonder

if he had even heard me speak.

“Google it,” he says,

then glaring at me

signaling a prompt exit

as he had given me the answer

that he believes I desired.

But now I understand

my childhood of independence

and how much better off I’ve become

because of a dad who did not care.

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