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October 13, 2009
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The ring of the doorbell awakened me from my sleep. I stumbled down the stairs, wondering who would be out on such a miserable, stormy day. In the door way stood a very familiar face – my father.

What a surprise, I thought to myself. My father hadn’t been around much for the last nine years of my life. I would see him, at most, once every six months. I had always harbored some resentment towards him because I thought he didn’t love me and didn’t really care about me. I also realized my life was much better off without him and his verbally abusive ways, but I always wished deep down inside of me that we could have a normal father-son relationship.

In a wave of anger, I slammed the door in his face. I stood in the same spot for about a minute and then reopened the door to check if he had gone. He hadn’t. “What do you want?” I yelled.

He said nothing, but his eyes shifted to a photo album in his hands. My eyes followed. The photo album was white with gold trimmings. On the cover typed in big, bold, black letters was REMEMBER.

“Remember?” I asked, puzzled. “Remember what? Remember the ways you treated me when I was younger?”

He closed his eyes and then reopened them. “Josh, I just want you to know that I understand why you feel the way you do. If it was me, I probably wouldn’t be listening to a word I am saying now. In this album are photos of us when you were too young to remember them but it shows that I do care for and love you.”

I cautiously took the album and opened it. The first picture was of me on a swing in the park with my dad pushing the swing. I looked so happy. The next picture was of my dad putting a lifejacket on me at the lake and I looked happier than I had ever been. The rest of the photos showed me in various places with my dad having fun and being happy.

In happier times my father had been a good father, but those years were so long ago they were almost erased from my mind. It pained me to even think of them.

“Why?” I asked with a cracking voice. “Why couldn’t you have always been the man in the s photos? Why?”

“Because I changed into a man that I was always afraid to be and have made a lot of mistakes that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. I just wanted you to remember the happier times, the times before I became who I am today.”

I looked down at the photos once again and when I looked up, he was gone. “Bye Dad,” I said into the air. “I remember. I remember.”

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Jillybean This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 16 at 4:56 pm
What a thoughtful, heart-wrenching story. I think we all have those memories of our parents before we start to learn about who they really are, and you express this so beautifully.
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