by Frank Czerwonka

Last year I killed my father. I had been planning it, in a low-key way, for years. I had often felt disempowered when I made contact with my father. As if I always remained his little boy and he my parent.

He called me "son", even though Iím in my forties, and I called him "dad". I had difficulty calling him Leon, because that felt inappropriate to the roles we had taken on. I felt trapped.

Even if I felt adult and mature in my own heart and mind, when we came together, things would change back. Every time I would visit, both he and my mother would talk to me as if I was still their little boy. Oh! the baby stories. And most of the time I would respond as if I was still their little boy. Maybe they felt trapped too and didn't know how else to be or act. I don't know how Leon felt about this way of relating as he said little about anything concerning feelings.

I often felt I was like my father; little mannerisms, gestures, phrases, beliefs and things that I would feel, see and hear would remind me of him. Scary at times. When I visited him, I would watch us as we sat in front of the TV with similar postures and body language. Wow! I would think, we're just like twins.

There seemed to be many fears in me that stopped me being on an equal footing with Leon, man to man. This relationship based on conditioning, fear and uncertainty was standing in the way of my growth. I felt locked in patterns created by me, my parents, the entire family, society and culture as a whole. To find the real "me" I had to free myself from these constrictions, to be able to live with them and not be ruled by them. Surely when I entered into manhood I was entitled to be treated as a man. I was no longer his son but a man to stand by his side. I could still look to his experience and wisdom, but I was my own man equal to all, including my father. Leon was my father in name only. There was no longer any feeling of obligation or responsibility that held us bound. We were free to be and do what we wanted. Free of all those emotional entanglements. I wanted to relate to Leon just like any other man, and not father to son.

I asked myself: "If this man was not my father, would I still want to keep contact with him as a man, a friend?". Did we have anything in common that could bond us apart from blood and emotion? The answer was no. I have spoken to many men who have said that they and their fathers were mates and had a lot in common. I think that's great as long as it's the truth. I have long felt that Leon's path and mine had taken different turns and we no longer had much in common to sustain an intimate relationship.

I decided I had to kill my father.

For many years I had worked on, felt, expressed and resolved most of my issues about my father and the things he did or didn't do. My decision to kill him didnít stem from suppressed resentments and love issues. I felt I needed to separate from the unhealthy and neurotic aspects of the relationship which seemed to keep us together but in fact kept us apart.

So, last year, having gathered up my courage, conviction and with a great deal of anxiety I went to speak with Leon. I was confronting my irrational fears of what Leon represented to me and the boy inside. The feeling was liking having to say 'NO' for the first time, scary and risky. Regardless, I went on and with some awkwardness I told Leon how I felt and how I wanted to be with him. That I was going to call him Leon from now on and to see if we could relate man to man.

Leon didn't say much and I sensed that he didn't quite understand what I was saying. That wasn't as important to me as going there and telling him what I needed to. Something has changed and resolved in me and now I feel more complete as a man and more comfortable with how I relate to other men.

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