Daddy

June 25, 2009
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We all have at least one thing in life we regret- not putting enough effort into school, not helping out more around the house, or maybe a simpler regret, like not playing with your little sister the first time you were asked. Mine? No, mine is more complicated. Looking back over the eighteen years of my life, I regret never telling my father how much I loved him when I left for college on August 15th.

It was your typical “something-is-going-to-go-wrong” day. Cliché, even. The sky held threatening dark gray clouds, and the sun had gone who knows where. I was sitting in my room alone, making sure everything was perfect. My larger bags were bulging with the clothes I was too paranoid to throw out; the smaller ones contained toiletries and books. To me, my packing was successful. Nothing could go wrong. Nothing.

But then again, I've always been optimistic. A pessimist was someone who didn't deserve to be talked to. When you were excited for the pool party later on, he would stomp on your parade with, “It's probably going to rain.” This was the kind of person I swore I wasn't. But it was also the one kind of person that I was too blind to realize I really am.

My parents were downstairs, discussing when to leave. I still remember what time the clock read the moment my father came into my room: 4:27 pm. He was a tall, burly man with rich brown hair and deep blue eyes. “An unusual combination,” he would say,

He sat down on my bed next to me, slinging his arm across my shoulder. I glanced up, smiled, and gave him a half hug. “We're leaving in an hour,” he told me, and as soon as it had begun, stood up from his spot. I thought he was going to leave, but he just merely turned around and leaned against my desk chair. “We need to talk.”

Only one time has he spoken that statement. On my seventeenth birthday, my friends had taken me out to party. They forgot a single detail: there would be drinking. I didn't want to seem lame, so I had a beer. Which slowly escalated into three more. I came home drunk, stumbling into the house way past my curfew. The next night, my parents lead me to the living room couch and recited the words I didn't want to hear: “We need to talk.” I was grounded for two months, with no phone rights.

This time, however, he appeared much calmer. “Yes?” I asked hesitantly, meeting his gaze boldly. He sighed, blinked, and looked towards the floor. “I was driving your car to Wal-Mart today, because your mother had borrowed mine, and I didn't notice the dumpster across the street.” I nodded my head. So that was it? He hadn't noticed the dumpster? Fascinating.

I started to hop up from my bed and walk towards the door. He stopped me with his hand. “That's not all,” he said, and I dropped back onto the piece of furniture that had been mine for years. “Like I said, I didn't notice the dumpster, and I backed your car into it pretty badly.” I could feel my green eyes widen, though I hadn't controlled the movement. My mustang, my brand new mustang, the one I had saved up for by myself... “Can it be fixed?” I squeaked, and he replied, in a sad tone, “No, I don't think so.” I expected myself to run and hug him, saying it was alright and that he was forgiven. But instead, to my surprise, I jumped up and ran out of the room. He followed me, too; I heard his footsteps quickly chase after mine. What happened back there? Why was I so angry? The two questions I wanted to desperately answer were impossible. I yelled over my shoulder, “I hate you!” and slammed the house's front door behind me as I continued to run. My friend picked me up in her old Chevy a couple of hours later. It had started to rain. We drove, soaked, to my college.

I hadn't spoken at all to my father after that day, meaning no apology. It was my mom who called to deliver the news: he had died from a heart attack. And with a lurch in my stomach, I remembered how my last words to him were, “I hate you.” Daddy, if you're listening, please forgive me.





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