Saturday, July 23, 2005

A Letter to My Father

Dear Papa,

How long has it been? A few days shy of two years now. I wonder how you are, where you are, what you're doing. I wonder if you think of us at all. Here. When you were with us, right there at the very end, I could only think of how so much simpler things would be without you. With the bravado of youth, I imagined life would be less complicated and pain-free if you were no longer around. I did. And just like that, my most secret wish, which laid low in my subconcious, came true. Problems solved. Now, I no longer see in black and white.

I'd always thought I wanted to be more like Mama. Spunky and ambitious and full of dreams. But I knew, in me, I also had you. I suppose all children realize their differences and similarities with their parents, I thought, I could have the best of both of you. I probably do.

I credited you for so little because you were always quiet and laid-back and hardly said much in my presence. Mama was always the beautiful peacock, the face of the family, the proud matriarch. You were content in the shadows, beaming with pride for your dashing wife. Always the center of attention she was, naturally charming and full of life. I credited you for so little when you did so much.

You were her voice of reason, her balance, her anchor. When she was dreaming up beautiful pictures, you brought her back to reality. You truly were partners, two halves of one. I know that now. And how painfully so.

Were you remiss for being a father? Maybe so. If fathers were always affectionate and generous and encouraging. You were not. But you were other things. You were solid and present and sober. You were kind. You were humble.

Now, I wonder what life would be like if you were still alive. If you hadn't driven that car, didn't have a few drinks that night. I imagine, you would still be Mama's voice of reason and caution. Seeing darkness, when she only sees light. Seeing bad, when she only sees good. Her guide. Her link to the ground when she is always poised for flight. I miss you Papa. If only because I know she needs you. Now, I must be you. I must play protector and guide. Her anchor to earth.

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