A Father's Loss

May 5, 2011
By , Placentia, CA
My father’s name was Roland Warner, and he was a respectable man. Everybody said so. He was a clockmaker, and he was d*mned good at it. He worked in the basement, at his desk in the corner. I told him that we could put some windows in the section of the house that the basement hits to get some light in there, but he didn’t want any. I guess his desk lamp was enough. Anyways, he made beautiful clocks. He could fix watches in a jiffy too. My dad was about 6 feet tall, and kind of thin. You never would have known though, because he never took off his coat. He had a big forehead, a receding hairline, and a thick mustache. He was one of those real soft-spoken types. Gentle and caring. But he could sure get mad sometimes. Anyways, he married my mom about 12 years ago, in May of 1895. I forgot the actual date. They had me around a year later, and we moved to Illinois. She was a real beauty. She had thick blonde hair, and a great smile. But my dad always talked about her eyes. It was my mother’s decision to name me Oliver. It was funny; she was about a foot shorter than my father, but he always said “She’s the one holding me up!”. I guess he could be funny sometimes too.
About a year ago, my mother started slowing down. I guess she got real sick, because no one would let me be around her at all. In think it was called “Influenza”. I could come into her room and say hi, but she never let me stay. It hurt, but I knew she wasn’t mad at me since she smiled when I came into her room. But one day, I came home and there were people outside. A bunch of my mom and dad’s friends I guess. I remember thinking how this would cheer my mom up to see everyone. I went inside, and I saw my dad. Except, he didn’t see me. He was too busy. He was screaming and yelling the words that he should have gotten in trouble for. He was beating stuff up, too. Just destroying everything that he could get his hands on. He even picked up this framed painting and smashed it on the ground. It was so stupid, because that was my mom’s favorite painting in the whole house! I don’t remember who painted it. It wasn’t until I saw the white sheet over the body that I finally understood.
After that, he just changed. I can’t tell you exactly how, he just did. Simple as that. I mean, I was hurt by my mom’s death, but I figure that she’s happier now. At least that’s what everyone says, and I agree. But I don’t think he could accept it. He tried to keep up. He still worked, went places, everything. But in those passings, those small amounts of time where he and I walked past each other somewhere in the house, it hurt a lot. He wouldn’t look at me. He couldn’t look at me. He spent a lot of time in the basement, whether he was working or not. I guess I understood, since everyone always told me I looked like her.
He never laughed anymore, and at quiet times during the middle of the night, I could hear him in the next room. Sometimes whispering or talking, sometimes silently crying. It was almost like he never slept. It was the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.
He stayed at home for a year. A few weeks before the anniversary of her death, I came home to nothing. He had a photograph taken, and left it on my pillow. Attached to the note was a letter saying that he was leaving. There was a forced sentence about how he just can’t live in this house anymore. I wish he would have told me because we could have left together. I wouldn’t have minded! He didn’t even take anything. Not one of his possessions. At the time, it seemed really strange.
That’s when I went to live with my aunt, who was my father’s sister, and her husband. Well, today, my aunt and uncle got a phone call. They called me inside, and sat me down in the living room. I guess he was found dead in some hotel in Wisconsin. When I asked how he died, they looked at each other for a moment and said that he was murdered. I couldn’t believe that. Before, I could never understand my dad’s anger when my mother died. I do now though. Even though my father was really distant for the past year, I still remembered everything from before mother died. He really was a great man.
That was about twenty minutes ago. Now the police are here. They talked to me, and told me they were sorry, which was strange since they didn’t do anything except help. And now I’m listening to them talk in the next room. The policeman told my aunt that my dad was shot in the side of the head, and the gun was next to his bed. Then he said that the only fingerprints that were on the gun were my dad’s. Now my aunt is crying, and my uncle is saying “It’s not your fault” over and over.

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