My father has become stooped, bent, hunched over upon himself; the weight of time and life resting on his once broad shoulders. I don’t know when this metamorphosis happened. When did he go from being this sentinel in my life, tall, shrouded in shadows, silent. I always remember him as if there was a moderate gulf between us, not too immense that it could never be crossed, just wide enough that the danger associated with it was enough to deter us both from efforts. When did his life turn on him? When did he realize that the choices he made have boxed him in until his life is no longer his own? How does it feel to look at your life and know that you are stranger to everyone? I looked at him today and realized that the parts of me that are him are ruling me right now. I don’t want to ever wake up and find myself in his shoes.
Love has always been a question in my life. One I never knew how to answer. How do you tell if you love someone? Harder still, how do you tell if someone loves you? My whole relationship with my father has been filled with words that hurt and silences filled with awkwardness that wounded deeper than any words ever could. I think maybe he always loved me, he just never knew how to show it. To be twenty and freaked out by an affectionate hug from my father probably defines our relationship pretty well. I hit a certain age and suddenly he can’t love me enough. I don’t know if he saw the end of his life or the beginning of mine, and I don’t know which one would have scared him most. I feel like he is trying to buy my love now, and I wish that I could explain to him that all he has ever had to do was ask. It has always been that simple with me, ask and if it’s in my power to give, you have it. But words are still hard for him, and asking even tougher. So we play this weird version of pushme – pullyou. Push me. Pull you. We get a little bit closer and we drift apart. Someday he is going to be gone and I wonder if all I’m going to remember is the sentinel of my youth, or the man he is now?