Joseph A. Pinto

barflypoet & author of dark fiction

Nearly four years ago, I had an opportunity to take my dad to lunch for Father’s Day.  He ordered a big bowl of pasta, if memory serves me correctly, but he didn’t eat all that much, if anything at all.  My recollection of those days has long since browned along the edges.  But I do remember that I promised him an espresso & black sambuca over dessert.  He wasn’t supposed to drink alcohol anymore, but he didn’t care.  Neither did I.  I don’t make many promises.  But a promise is a promise.  And I never break a promise.

Two weeks later, my dad passed away after a long war with pancreatic cancer.

I did make one other promise to my dad.  Growing up, I always had the suspicion my father was a superhero of some sort.  The man was capable of doing anything.  Sadly, it wasn’t until he grew sick that his guard lowered, the truth ready to be learned.  While he lay sleeping, I peeked under his hospital bed.  There lay a dusty pair of boots.  Across them, a red cape.  I took them gently from beneath the bed, hugged them close.  One last time, I kissed my father upon the head.  Then I returned home & hid them where no soul would ever look.  And I vowed that they would stay hidden, until I had a child of my own.  Until I was man enough to fill those boots & wear that cape, until my child knows of the superhero their grandpa was.  Until Superman can fly again.

Four long years ago I made that promise.  And a year after that, I whispered one more to my little girl the day she was born.  I don’t make many promises.  But a promise is a promise.

And I never break a promise.

Eventually, my daughter will learn she was born into a family of heroes.  For now, she only needs to know I’m daddy.

Father’s Day is nearly here, so if you’ll excuse me, I must go.  I need some time for myself.  There’s something I need to take from hiding.  Four long years, and now the day has come.  Time to honor one life, & then live for another.

Finally, I’m ready.

At last, time to fly.

22 thoughts on “A promise is a promise

  1. That was beautiful, Joe! I cried when i read it! You are a very lucky man! You have a beautiful little girl.

    1. Thanks, Dorisann, I appreciate that!

  2. Blaze McRob says:

    You had a much better experience with your father than I did with mine. He wasn’t a mean man, but he was very flawed. Most of that, I’m sure, came from his WW II experiences. In the seventeen years I lived at home before going off to my own war, he probably was in the house only two of those years. And yet with my own children I can’t be so uncaring, even though as a divorced dad it makes things tougher. They probably think I deserted them and the things I wish I could tell them I really can’t because they need their mom and I can’t be the master of the bad mouth. Maybe when they’re old enough to understand, they’ll knock the dust off the Superman suit. Until then, I’ll do the best I can.

    Happy Father’s Day, Joe. Put on the suit. It fits you well.


    1. Blaze, my big-hearted friend, you already wear the big S as well. You just haven’t taken the time to look under your own shirt.

      1. Blaze McRob says:

        You are much too kind, Joe. Thank you very much.


  3. Stacey says:

    I am in shock at the comment Athena made this weekend and how it is conncted to what you jsut posted!! She definetly has guardian angels!!!

  4. Charles Laster says:

    Truthful and beautiful Father’s day reminisce. Maybe we wouldn’t even rocognize a superhero if we met one.

  5. Carey Davidson says:


    Read this again, it still grabbed my heart right out of my chest. You have a wonderful way of taking even an intermediate reader such as my self right into the story quickly, GOOD STUFF. Little something for you below!!

    Almost any Man can be a Father, it takes Someone Extremely Special to be a DAD! What I have heard from you thus far you are a Fabulous Father/Husband!

    “You can’t relate to a superhero, to a superman, but you can identify with a real man who in times of crisis draws forth some extraordinary quality from within himself and triumphs but only after a struggle.”

  6. Joe,
    Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I know what it’s like to have a dad who is (a) Superman.

    1. Hi Minnie – thank you very much. I hope he is always flying.

  7. zolemia says:

    mighty story! thank you!

    1. Thank you, Susan…thank YOU!

  8. Athena is very lucky to have someone like you in her life…and when she grow up she’s going to realise what a wonderful man her Father is,just like you did with your Father.
    i love this Post Joe…brought back so many memories of my own father (my superhero) and your writing is as always so beautiful and personal.
    Thank you for sharing this post with us.

    1. Always humbled by your words, Staury, thank you

  9. This brought tears, such a great blog post.

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Connie 🙂

  10. Joseph, she is your kryptonite! Beautiful.

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Hi Sheri 🙂 Yes, my daughter has me snared round her beautiful fingers and toes 😉

  11. jaimiengle says:

    Beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. I love how crisp and close the narrative felt while keeping the secret in the air at the same time. Very nicely done. Thank you for sharing this tender moment. It was very touching…

    1. Joseph Pinto says:

      Thank you very much, Jaimie 🙂

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