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Written for The Little Oz Drabble Tree That Could challenge at oz_wishing_well.

Meaning of a Man

by Ozsaur

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When Miguel had held his baby in his hands, he'd felt like a man. He thought he was a man the first time he'd fucked a woman, and he had thought it made him a man when he found out Maritza was pregnant.

But holding that little person in his hands, a person who needed him, he'd felt something clutch inside his chest: awe and joy and fear all mixed together. He was responsible for this life. The enormity of that responsibility scared the hell out of him, and yet filled him with pride.

He'd been willing to do anything for his child, fight the whole world, change his life, bargain with God. Scarred his own face to save his baby. In the end it had been for nothing but a sweet ache that never left his heart.

After the funeral, after everything, he still felt like a man. He was still a father, even if all he had left of his child was a faded picture. It was all he had to hold on to, the only thing that kept him from ending himself when he realized he was never getting out of Oz.

Despair filled him in this hell on Earth. But it couldn't destroy the hope that one day, if he some how made it to the other side, he'd once again hold his baby in his hands.

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