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Here is what I remember.
I remember riding in the car in the middle of summer, the wind fierce and hot as it whipped in through the open windows, singing at the top of our lungs. I remember you trying to hit the high notes in our favorite song and making me laugh. I remember when you were teaching me how to drive. One day we were sitting at a red light, and you abruptly announced it was my turn to drive. “Not now, we’re at a light!” I responded, giggling nervously.
“You better hurry up, the light’s gunna change soon,” was all you said as you stood outside my window. I scrambled into the driver’s seat just as the light turned green, my hands gripping the wheel, my palms sweating. But you kept me calm, and I did just fine.
I remember staying up until all hours of the night, sitting in the garage and just talking and laughing. I remember getting on our bikes at 2 am and riding into town to get milkshakes at the diner.
I remember playing football outside with Dylan. Once we were tired we just lay in the grass and looked up at the setting sun, and it was more than enough.
I remember the time we saw an eagle perched on the flag pole, and how we went outside to follow it and take pictures.
I remember how you would always make me breakfast in the morning before school, and how we always had our best conversations on the hour ride over. I told you everything on those car rides.
I remember making dinner for you on father’s day. Dylan, Shelby and I walked to Stew Leonard’s and bought all of our supplies. As we tried to cook dinner you kept trying to help when I wasn’t looking. “Dad stop, this is for you!” I said, but I couldn’t help smiling as I caught you cutting the potatoes. We set the table on the back porch, and as we all sat down I could tell you were holding back tears.
“This is the best Father’s Day I’ve ever had. I love you guys.” You said, as you smiled your crooked smile. You hated getting all emotional like that, but the few times that you did I could always see how much you loved us. You immediately lightened the mood though when you walked right into the screen door. We laughed and laughed until tears streamed down our faces.
I remember sitting on the coach just watching movies together. These were the few times you would ever sit still for more than a few minutes. You really only ever sat still for me.
I remember the day we decorated for Donna’s birthday. We went to party depot and bought balloons, streamers, and lots of confetti. Even though it was completely against the condo rules, we left a trail of confetti from the entrance all the way to our front door, like a scattered rainbow leading everyone to the festivities. We laughed so hard that day.
I remember all of your weird phrases and gestures. I still use them to this day.
I remember the night we danced together in my room. You had come downstairs to say goodnight, and I was listening to music. You grabbed me by the hands and we started spinning around the room. As touching as the moment was, that was when I realized that our good times were going to come to an end soon, but I still held on to that moment as tightly as I could.
I remember when we decided we were going to start jogging together. I think you only went three or four times, and you could never keep up. “Your old man’s out of shape.” You’d pant from behind me as you struggled to continue on. We’d always try to strike up a conversation, but we were so winded that we just fell into a steady rhythm and listened to the synchronized sound of our sneakers hitting the pavement.
I remember taking the jeep out to the lake. The five of us were there, you and your four kids. We just walked around and took in the beautiful scenery. The sunlight caught the lake, and it reflected back like bits of crystal on a chandelier. The breeze was calm and soothing, blowing softly through the grass and trees. I remember just sitting back and watching my family play together, and thinking that it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
I remember how we always used to get into debates about my school papers. I would tell you what my assignment was, and you’d immediately launch into your opinion on it, and before I knew it we had been discussing it for two hours, and I hadn’t written a single word. I would constantly bounce ideas off of you, and you always had some way of looking at things that I had never thought of before.
I’d hate to think that this is the end to all our memories, but I need to get them down on paper, just in case it really is the end. I can feel the memory of you slipping away, and this is the only way that I can hold on to all the reasons why I love you. This is the only way I’ll be able to forgive you someday. I need to hold on to these things, instead of the bad things. I hope someday I’ll be able to write down many more good things.