Back To Your Roots

April 13, 2018
By , WYCKOFF, NJ

He looked out from his bedroom window, and the sun yelled a bright hello from the horizon. He looked toward the sun, the same sun for 75 years now, and began his morning. But the space next to him was desolate. Just like it was for the last 10 of those 75 years. He said good morning to the deserted space as well. Instead of showering, he just threw on a pair of clothes. Slowly. The man knew he had a lack of speed. But he had nothing to do, and all day to do it. And pretty much nobody to share the day with.
Steadily, he walked his way down the stairs and to the kitchen. He looked at his landline, wondering if anyone called overnight. He had learned to be a heavy sleeper because the space next to him would always pull the sheets. But no one had called. No calls had come in for years. But no calls going out either.
He kept walking at his usual pace. Not worried about anyone else. He had nowhere to be, nothing to worry about. Retirement was relaxing, yet it was boring most of the time. Looking down at the beach, he saw the waves he once swam in. The same ones his kid swam in. The same ones he thought his grandchildren might swim in. But that dream seemed over after the family fight. The fight over mom’s will. The fight that disfigured everyone in the family. The fight that he thought was idiotic. 
He turned to his left, slowly but surely, and had to decide where to eat. Introverted as he was, he didn’t look at the people or families that seemed to run by him.
As he entered his familiar eatery, he decided to sit by the window, overlooking the beach. He had a perfect view of the TV, and the beach, but watched in silence. Right on schedule, his neighborhood friends began to walk in as well. It was a tacit assumption that they came here and ate at this spot on Saturday mornings. It was the most consistent part of his life.
The typical tip of the hat was given to each as they walked in. None of them sat at the same table, but it was like they were sitting together. It was one group spread across the diner.
Some talk went back and forth, and the retired men enjoyed their breakfast. The retirees were some of the only friends they had most of the time.
The rest of the breakfast was eaten in silence. Though no one said it, everyone enjoyed the company of one another. It was a threat to their masculinity if they expressed the thought aloud.
As the hour hand was nearing the ten, he decided it was time to go home. He paid the check at the counter, and slowly started his walk back. Again, taking in the sights as fast as he needed to. He was in a no rush. As he neared his beachfront home, he realized there was mail to be read. He took it out of the box, somewhat excitedly, and walked inside.
As he laid the junk mail on the counter, a letter stuck out to him. A handwritten name and address. Not just the insincere printed words. As he took it in his hands, he realized it was from his son. His only son was writing to him for the first time in years. Suddenly, he was thrilled. Finally, his own son was looking to talk to him again. All of a sudden, he was nervous. What could it be? Why would he contact him now? He thought this might alter his relaxing life. But he was okay with that.
Instead of being scared, he swallowed his anxiety and opened the letter. Before reading the first line, he took a deep breath. Dad, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.  I don’t know why we fought. My home doesn’t feel right without you. You don’t have to forgive me, but I just wanted to reach out. My number is 455-904-8902. Please call so we can talk out the details. I don’t want this to last forever.
The letter goes on. But he got the gist of it, and it made him happy. He took a sigh of relief. This feud was over. This ridiculous conflict seemed so important at the time but, now it is meaningless.
He walked over to the landline, the one that hasn’t been used, and began to dial the number, slowly. And instead of reflecting on his past time, he anticipates his future years.






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