Bloodstained water swirled down the bathroom sink as John tended to the injuries he received in another schoolyard fight. He ran his tongue along his gums and could tell a few teeth had been loosened. His knuckles would be bruised and he would be sporting another black eye.

They were badges of honor and told all the boys that although he was an altar boy he was no pansy.

When his mother arrived home, he received another lecture. It merely went in one ear and out the other because he was too stubborn and proud to listen.

It would be the sound of weeping coming from his mother's room in the early hours of the morning that would finally break through and get him to see reason, if only for a little while.

This was how their days went.

A single mother determined to raise her fatherless son the best she could.

A fatherless son determined to grow up sooner than his mother wishes.

Both wanting back the man taken from them who made their little family complete.

John Kelly, Sr.