Tom arrived precisely at 9 AM as agreed. Two-year-old Flora rushed in ahead of him. When she didn’t find her mom in the kitchen, she ran up the stairs. Tom heard her calling, “Papa! Papa!” He went up the stairs with trepidation. They were littered with discarded clothing from two women. Marielle didn’t come home alone last night.

Tom paused outside Marielle’s bedroom. “Sorry,” he called, “she got away from me.” Again Flora called, “Papa, look.”

Marielle said, “Come on in, we’re covered, sort of.”

Tom edged around the door. Flora sat on the bed with her hands on the cheeks of a smiling woman he’d never seen before. “Look,” Flora said. “Like me.”

The woman was dark skinned – probably of Indian descent. She was approximately the same skin color as Flora. The fair-skinned Tom and Marielle looked at each other. Tom and Marielle didn’t realize that Flora was even aware of skin color yet.

Marielle sat up and tugged the duvet closer to her chin. She gestured to the woman beside her. “This is Shamira.” Shamira wiggled her eyebrows in his direction. Mirelle looked at her daughter who seemed enchanted by Shamira. “Looks like it’s time for a talk.”

Please leave a comment with your first 50 words on the topic “papa.”


Author: Virginia DeBolt

Writer and teacher who writes blogs about web education, writing practice, and pop culture.

7 thoughts on “Papa”

  1. Random scene from a holiday. A burly red-faced man screaming at the concierge in French, while his teenage daughter tugs at his sleeve and pleads, papa… papa… over and over. In his rage, he doesn’t care about her tears and her helplessness breaks my heart… or simply makes me remember.

  2. I called my maternal grandfather “Papa” and he called me “cara mia” (the Italian for ‘my dear’). My two younger sisters also called him “Papa” but he called them “Minnie” & “Chicken Legs”, respectively (my sister Andria was Minnie because she was, and still is, petite, while Laura, the youngest of us, was “Chicken Legs” because she was long & scrawny as a young child). Sure, my first name IS Cara, but I was the only one he addressed by a term of endearment, as though I were his lover. And after the summer I turned ten, I guess I earned the right to be addressed with a term of endearment by him, although I considered myself his victim rather than his lover. But yeah, I called him “Papa”.

  3. My first-generation U.S. citizen Dad called his father “Pa” and I called Dad’s Pa “Granpa”, but there was no “Papa” in our home, nor even in the homes of relatives or friends. It wasn’t until late teenage years that the word hit home. I knew the Pope (as we in the USA spoke of him) was known as Papa by Europeans, but what about the Vatican wasn’t foreign in those days? Movies were the media of experience then. One showed U.S. kids relating to Dads by the name Papa. I remember being simultaneously startled and impressed. I learned more about the diversity embedded on our currency: “E pluribus Unum.” Dads and Papas are different, yet the same.

  4. Papa Can You Hear Me … when I heard my favorite vocalist, Barbra Streisand, singing this in the movie “Yentl” I almost cried in the theatre. The word “Papa” breaks my heart. When I used to shop for Father’s Day cards I wondered why someone didn’t create a few that children could send to their fathers who weren’t good at being fathers. It was always painful shopping for that damned card each year! I loved my father dearly. No one educates people in being a good parent. You either are or you aren’t. And my father just wasn’t. He was an intelligent and extremely handsome man. He was creative. He was self-taught and played several musical instruments. He also wrote poetry. He was very laid back and never showed anger. He never should have had children. He left soon after I was born, and returned a few times trying miserably to be a family man. Even created another child – my younger brother. Then left. He traveled throughout the country and finally settled down south where he built his own home on a lake. He lived there until the end. I do give serious thought to his own experience as a child. I was shocked at first when I was told his mother placed him and his siblings in an orphanage. My God, how could she have done such a thing? Later I read that many people did the very same thing during the Depression. How painful for them. All of them had problems dealing with life. His way was to live in the country in solitude. He never trusted anyone. So sad.

  5. Our very own Papa Francesco brought a lot of happiness, enthusiasm and a sense of renewed faith to many people during his trip to the United States. His concerns are those of the people, and this is what resonates with them. The outpouring of love and emotion has been overwhelming and the impression he made on everyone will certainly be memorable. I’m sure his trademark plea will not be easily forgotten by those who heed it: “Please pray for me.”

  6. “So, ‘potato’ is ‘papa’ in Spanish,” murmured the boy to himself, as he copied the vocabulary list from his textbook into his homework sheet, punctiliously memorizing the accent of every word that he wrote. He turned to his back, to his grandfather, who was busy reading a broadsheet on the armchair. “Isn’t it funny, Pops? ‘Potato’ is ‘papa’ in Spanish. Did you know that?”

    “Huh? Uh, yeah,” replied the old man. “Sure, I’ll have a hamburger. That’ll be great.”

    The boy frowned. “You weren’t listening again, were you, Pops?” He walked to his grandfather and gave the back of the broadsheet a quick sweep with his eyes. “Same old news. Same old news. Boring. Why do you like reading newspapers, anyway, Pops? They’re so boring.”

    The grandfather raised an eyebrow at the boy’s inquisitive-looking face and smiled. He gently folded the newspaper, put it on his lap, bent forward towards the boy, who was now seated on the floor before him, and said,

    (continued in )

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