Nov. 18, 2022 – Before I went to prison, I was a doting father in spite of my bitter divorce. I’d spend weekends with my boy, D., going to Philadelphia Eagles games and the Happy Tymes Family Fun Center in Warrington, Pennsylvania. We’d practice soccer in my backyard using a net I’d put up. I’d make him dribble around cones, taking shots while I stood in the goal. “Stick to the basics, son! Don’t show off until you’re good,” I’d call out. Then I’d purposely miss the ball, diving like Beckham himself had just gotten a zinger past me. I lived by a small private airstrip, and we would lie in that same backyard watching rainbow-colored hot air balloons float through the sky. In the fall, when wood smoke drifted from nearby chimneys, D. would beg for a campfire in the backyard pit. I’d wrap him in a warm blanket and drink Guinness while he’d poke a coat hanger through a spongy cube of marshmallow and roast it to death. He’d giggle at the dripping mess of flaming sugar, and I would memorize all the little details of his face so I’d have enough memories to get me through another lonely week without him.

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