Dad's Waffles

November 21, 2011
Mom gently shakes me from my dreams,
And tells me Dad made waffles;
I spring out of bed and scurry to the kitchen,
And there sits the perfectly golden stack
Accompanied by my favorite Buzz Lightyear cup
Filled to the brim with apple juice.
“Thanks Dad, you’re the best!” I say, as I tuck into the sticky syrup covered tower.
“Welcome buddy,” says Dad with a delighted smile.

Dad is in his classic businessman attire:
Flawlessly pressed suit, traditional necktie, immaculately polished shoes.
He says he’s running late. He kisses mom, and tells her he loves her,
Then kisses me on the temple and promises we’ll go to the park to play ball
When he gets back.
He grabs his coffee, cell phone, and briefcase, and hurries out the door.

Mom tells me I’m running late too.
I scarf the rest of my waffles, gulp down my juice,
Say bye to Mom, and make my way to school.

At the end of the day, I walk the long four blocks towards home.
I carry a picture I drew in art class:
Me and Dad, playing catch in the park like he promised me earlier that morning,
Wearing matching Yankee’s jerseys,
Beaming with laughter like we always do, as Dad gives me helpful pointers.
I can’t wait to show Mom.

Walking through the door, I see Mom in a desperate trance, staring into the TV screen.
She turns around; her eyes are puffy and glassy, tears streaming down
Her rosy cheeks, glowing as bright as the unforgiving flames behind her.
The reporter speaks with an uneasy voice, as she stutters over the words
“A second plane just hit.”
Smoke spilling into hysterical streets,
Mirror images crumbling to Earth, no longer reaching for Heaven.
Mom bursts into a wailing sob, as she frantically dials Dad’s number
Over and over;
No answer.

I will never forget the day my dad never came home.
And how we didn’t go to the park to play ball, ever again.
And I’ll never forget how my mother shed tears for days on end,
Trying to explain to me, “Daddy is with God now.”
But I didn’t want to believe that—
I wanted him to be here with me; to laugh with me,
And to teach me the things only a father can teach to his son.
The world around me crashed and burned, deteriorating me with each passing day.
And now each morning I sit at the kitchen table,
Gazing into the picture I drew of Dad and me still hanging on the fridge,
Steadily swirling my dull cereal,
‘Cause Mom’s waffles just aren’t the same.

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