“How many times do I have to tell you to stay away from those skollie friends of yours?”

Angelo and I am standing in the kitchen, arguing again.

Ma, you don’t need to shout, I’m not deaf,” Angelo says.

“Really? I think you are a little deaf, because I have to speak two times before you listen.”

He kicks the table. “You talk yes, but you don’t listen. Ma, you just talk and skel. You don’t even know what I’m going through. I will … ag, just leave it.”

I’m losing my child. He doesn’t talk to me, he says I don’t understand him. “Angelo, you know that’s not true, you can talk to me any time, my kind.”

“Ha! Ja, right,” he says and walks away.



“You don’t shout ‘What’ at me! Talk with me! Praat met my.”

“Why did Pa die?” he suddenly shouts.


“I want to know, why is Pa dead? Why isn’t he the one who will always be there for me? Why must Ma always be alone? Did God suddenly see something so bad in me that he decided to take my pa? Am I such a bad person? Yes, I know I’m bad in school. But I also think I deserve a dad.”

There are tears in my eyes as I listen to my child’s heart. “Angelo …”

I don’t say another word, I just grab him and hug him. He begins to cry and cry and cry. A broken, crushed heart without words to make it right. I feel helpless. All that I can do is to hold my child and cry with him. I cry for all the children like my child who grow up without a father because of gang violence. I cry for all the parents who can’t do anything now, except to hold their child and cry with him.

I say a prayer in my heart. I pray that my child will never ever become a skollie. God, please, stop my child, send him on the right path, and not on the same path as his pa.


Tell us: Why do you think Petronella doesn’t want to tell Angelo what happened to his father?