I remember when you were here. When I would come downstairs around the same time that the sun woke up. I’d look into the backroom and see that the garbage bag was missing,
meaning that you had already taken it out. The smell of your spicy cologne would still be floating along the air, mixed with the aroma of this past week’s dinners and breakfasts. I
would slide my socks across the wooden floor, into the kitchen to pour myself a glass of milk; sometimes I’d even drink out of the carton while looking at the door to make sure that you didn’t
catch me. You’d come in, delighted and happy to see that your young offspring was awake and alone, all to yourself. I would smile, I remember that, because you always loved me and you
always rubbed my head in a way that bothered me only when anyone else did it.
A year after that, I’d still go downstairs. The air now would be filled with coffee beans and maybe some eggs or bacon. The garbage would still be in the backroom and mom would be sitting at the table with the newspaper covering her worn out face. I could see her single income impacting us. Each day I went downstairs, something was missing; sold perhaps, just to keep us stable for another day. Now I had to remove the trash from the house. Mom paid no attention to me as I walked by; she just kept her eyes glued to something she probably had no concern about. I also had no desire to drink milk discreetly anymore. I chugged it down with one hand as I dragged the heavy garbage bag with the other. Things were different after you left. It seemed as though you fueled our lives, and without you there, we were gasless cars with temporary batteries. How could someone, you in this case, leave with a conscience fully aware that you were inflicting wounds? On us, your family. I can imagine that you’ve placed our pictures in a box, somewhere deep inside the attic of your new home, where your new wife and children could never find them.
I used to be bitter about the whole thing. Seeing as how mom would leave for work at six in the morning, and arrive back home at around eleven. She worked two jobs, and even with that, I still went some nights with an empty stomach and a more than noticeable headache. But over the years I’ve learned to cope with it. I realized that you weren’t coming back; that when you put those bags into that taxi, that was goodbye. Oh how I should’ve hugged you. How I should’ve sucked in your aroma one last time, just to be able to smell it in my dreams. I miss you, to this day I miss you. I know this letter may come as a surprise, but I figured that it was time to let you know what you’ve caused. Rest assured though, we are better now. I’m a novelist, sure you haven’t heard of any of my stories. I sit in a big office, with a view that projects almost every home in New York City (so it seems). Much different from the steel bars and cement walls you’re used to. I may sound harsh, but I really am sorry that you’ve ended up in a place like that. Just know, that in your absence, what you possibly sought to destroy, you empowered. I love you Dad, and that might seem naive of me to say, but I mean it. It’s strange how I could love someone I know nothing about, but I feel it. I have dreams about you, and for that, I confirm that some part of you still lives within me. I’ve just chosen to be the better man and actually stay with my family. If you’re curious about how they look, I’ll send another letter next week. My son looks just like you. Talk to you later Dad.
© Copyright 2016 Antonio Rivera. All rights reserved.
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Poem / Poetry
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