Dad… It’s Father’s Day. You know one of those overrated days, the day people pour out all their feelings and gift them over a peculiar celebration- or pretend to, Show love and care doing things they could also do normally but generally don’t. Give their loved ones a hug, dinner, flowers, chocolates etc, What do dads like? If I remember the 90’s TV correct every dad loves a golf club set or a fishing rod for a gift, hm maybe even a bowling ball.
But you wouldn’t want that would you? You never were the type of guy who goes outdoors. You liked staying indoors, you liked sitting in your room. On your chair or your bed reading books after books secluded from everyone. Seldom you’d be seated with one leg resting over the other and your body would shape like a causally written number four and the only ambiance were clicks made by your fingers scratching, pealing at the skin of peanuts or your dried toe and heel. I’m not even sure what you liked about doing that.
This is often a reference point for my memory, whenever someone asks me about you this is the image that fades in. I often find your habit odd in the synapse. I wonder why it sticks out, I’ve always been curious but never gave it enough thought, and now that I have it seems you get lost in the words of your book so far that your fingers can’t identify what they are picking at, your neurons don’t recognize the difference between peanut or a toe; Or is that you have this unknown syndrome to scratch at things – Maybe it just relieved stress- but anyhow,
I’ve been meaning to write something about you for quite sometime now and I’m not sure why I want to do this. Whenever I miss you… Yes- MISS you, I find this oldest memory in my mind rushing to me, engulfing me, and sometimes it makes me wish I was that little boy. You see,
I was a little boy who had tears on his cheeks every day. My legs would tremble and I would dread knowing how to walk; Tear stained my glow and my eyes would shut every time I would have to walk in through that black school gate, and of course all of this never happened on Sunday morns.
Days went by, my eyes drained out and my legs became unyielding, The chomp at my heart from the monster residing within me had been reduced to a faint nip of kitten, and in one of those morbid days I sat gloomy in my class like a chewed out catnip toy. My name got called by the principal’s assistant and I felt an anchor drop in the water. To my then tiny understanding that only happened to boys that got caught being naughty. I remember standing up from my desk with an effort that could have made me pick up all the school bags in the world and that was because- well; you know this is just an exaggeration. I had no choice, and out I went the empty corridor, thinking.
“What did I do wrong?”
After walking halfway through what seemed like the valley of death, to my surprise I was not being led to Tartarus (the dreaded principal’s office) but elsewhere. Before I could think or ask the former Grim Ripper where I was being taken, I saw you; And there you were; standing in the small courtyard, your hands hanging behind your back, a heroic smile plastered on your face- I never seem to forget. I kept looking at your face and ignored your bright eyes, your face was funny and yet there I was still staring your face. It took me a moment to move and instead of running to you with a wide smile I walk up to you. And in my tiny head was only a question that kept rolling over and over,
“Is the school over early today?”
Finally when I was near enough; I looked in your eyes, a pairs I wasn’t afraid of looking into. I smiled as I silently kept standing next to you, gaze locked. Your hands broke free and lo and behold, a brown bag in one of them. I felt this amazing sensation crawl under my skin. I knew I was getting something that day and I just couldn’t wait.
But before I could get what was already rightfully mine in my head, your empty hand reached out to mine and before it could grab me I grabbed it. You walked us to the bench out of the sun and we both sat down and it seemed like forever. Finally you put me out of my mental misery, you reached inside the bag and out came something quite red, an apple. I have to admit that was probably the most reddest apple I had ever seen.
You gave me the apple and then you crumpled up the bag and you put it in your coat pocket. You sat there for minutes and you watched me finish the apple, all that time I could see this glitter in your eyes and a smile of joy- to this day I will never understand why you were so happy, but I’m glad I knew that you were, for I certainly wasn’t at that moment because “I really wanted that crumpled brown paper bag”
There were no words shared; and yet it felt like we talked for ages. And then when it was all but over you told me to go back to my classroom. And back I was, smiling, with that same funny face and that same glitter in my eyes. That was the best day I had in school.
You will always be like that in my memory. No amount of indifference or mishaps will ever change that. I know we both shared ups and downs and we will have many more but if you ever start to look back and think that you failed on me, I want you to read this, smile the same way and know,
That I’ll probably hold your hand first when you reach out to hold mine.
PS I really; really, wanted that bag. Just wanted you to know.