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The Barn

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I knew what he had to say before he reached the door. He climbed from his 1943 forest green Jeep with a solemn look on his face, a face that said “I’m sorry” when the words couldn’t reach his mouth. His clothes were the same typical shade of green and he had an impressive shelf of badges and award draped from his jacket. And as he took his slow thoughtful steps toward the porch all I could think of was my father. His smile was soft and often accompanied by the deep, harsh laugh that would erupt from deep in his chest. I could picture him at his record player in the basement just sitting with his eyes closed letting the music take him. It may sound vain and self centered but one of the greatest memories I have is of someone telling me how great my father truly was and what they remembered most fondly about him. “I have to stop thinking, its only hurting me,” I turned and headed out the back door. I couldn’t feel anything whether it was the ground under my feet, the tall grass brushing me as I past, or the swirling cyclone of emotions that overwhelmed my body. I was both physically and emotionally numb. The only thoughts running through my mind were of him. Why I wasn’t crying, “how could I not be crying he was gone, cry Jacob cry damnit!” I felt awful one of the most important people in the world to me was just taken and all I could do was walk blindly following my feet without knowing where they were headed.
As a walked through the grass still reeling with emotions I realized I had no idea where I was I knew this farm like the back of my hand and yet I had somehow managed to find a spot I had never been before. I immediately looked around to get my bearings and find a spot to rest, the walk had made me tired and I felt like I had been walking with a two ton weight on my back. Scanning the dusky horizon I picked out a distant building, it appeared to be a barn but I thought I had seen in all the barns around the farm. I walked curiously towards the barn and as I got closer and closer its features began to become clear. The Barn was an old and dilapidated structure with noticeable lean towards the right side it looked like a building plucked straight of a surrealist painting the way it leaned, it seemed almost impossible that a structure could last so long under such feeble conditions. A few more yards and I was at the door with what I can only imagine was a contorted face caught in between curiosity and wonder as I noticed there was a nice clean welcome mat sitting atop the rickety old steps but more confusing than the out of place mat was the boots my father used to work in. This must have been his barn a place he used to go when he needed to be alone. I started to picture what it might look like inside tall stacks of records and a few comfortable chairs here and there and in the middle of those records sat my father with a glowing face that lit a barn that would otherwise be dark and dilapidated. My delusions of my dad got the better of me and I stepped cautiously up the old steps as they creaked and groaned under my weight. I reached the barn door and caught a few notes of a song I knew in the breeze, delusion or not it was real to me and I was determined to enter the barn and see my dad sitting reading a book and listening to that song. It was a song I had heard over and over again come every holiday season it was the serenading waltz of the Vince Guaraldi Trio known as the Great Pumpkin Waltz. The song had never brought me to tears before, in fact it was a song I usually enjoyed sitting and listening to but now more than ever I felt sorrow in every note. Tears fell from my eyes and dropped like rain, I was finally crying, finally. All I could feel was deep sadness that flowed without hesitation from what seemed like deep in my heart, but in a way it was as if the sadness brought relief that two ton weight had been lifted and it hit me like a brick wall my dad was dead. As I cried I realized I was crying for an entirely different reason than I expected. I wasn’t crying for my loss or the fact that my father had lost his life I was crying for the world. I felt sorrow for the people around me that they would never know my father. Never again would I be able to introduce my dad and let the world know how great he was. With this sudden realization I stopped…. My need to open the door and see my father was gone I had no desire to reach what surly waited beyond those doors, disappointment. I knew as long as this old, dilapidated barn remained shut to me I would always have my father standing behind it listening intently to the sorrowful notes and tapping his foot in rhythm. This place that had existed unannounced to me for what had been over a decade could now and always be Dad’s Barn.





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