The Day That My Father Cried

Illustration by Amy
Illustration by Amy
last words, last kisses, last embraces, last goodbyes: final goodbyes. tears
and sweaty hands shaking awkwardly as if we are simply acquaintances and we
are both laughing because we haven’t shaken hands for years. i think we
first shook hands when a friend introduced us at the bar with the
glowing red light. i said to you within the first few moments of us meeting
that this light would be perfect to take photos in and then i kind of
regretted it because i thought you would think it was stupid but you agreed
with me and i liked you from that moment on. you were shy but friendly and

very sweet and i was worried you hated me but my friend later
explained that you said you had liked me so i no longer worried. that night
i thought about you and the conversations we had a lot. i was really
considering asking the friend that introduced us for your number and i eventually
decided to and it is one of the best things i ever did. it seems out of
place to be shaking hands with someone that you think knows you inside and
out. that gesture is reserved for distant relatives, mean bosses,
strangers, lawyers, co-workers you are meeting for the first time.

my mind is drifting but not poetically like a boat on water or the gentle
breeze of the leaves on the trees. in my head i’m already half gone and i
am used to the fact that we are going to be separated for a long long time.
i am very afraid; the future is completely unknown when it comes to us and
i am afraid because we both know the hundreds of outcomes that this
separation could have for us.

my family comes to wave me off and it is very selfish of me but i do not
want them there. right now, it feels like you are the only person who fits in
this moment. it hurts to think about the distance that will be between us.

i think that maybe we should just say goodbye forever now; maybe it would
be easier that way. i don’t want to cry and i probably won’t because i seem
to have an inability to cry in front of anyone, regardless of our closeness.

the lump in my throat isn’t nice and i can’t help but wonder if there is a lump in
your throat too. the lump reminds me of being at the cinema and being surrounded

by friends, not wanting to cry and trying to swallow the lump but it is impossible.

i snap back into the moment and i see that your eyes are all shiny and you
look like you are already crying but you are not making a single noise and
then i wonder if maybe i have gone temporarily deaf. your lips are not
moving and neither are mine.

my family are distant and they seem to want to leave me alone with you and
that makes me feel bad. you are always nervous around them, especially my
sister because her loud voice and intrusive questions freak you out and you
don’t really like to be around her. i remember when you told me that i
cried because i was having a weird day and everything felt so strange and
you being so honest just broke me.

you felt really bad and we were both just sitting there on the bed, me
crying and you close to tears. in a way it was a fond memory because raw
emotion is kind of beautiful in a disturbing way.

i was always kind of dreading this moment. when i was 11 i remember
dreaming of this moment and wondering what it would be like, who would be
waving me off and what the situation would be like.

again i come back into the present and now you are full on weeping. i don’t
have a tissue to offer you, but my father does. he pats you on the back in
a weird fatherly way that seems alien to me and probably you too but i can
see that he is trying to make you feel better and that makes me feel warm
inside. he is very caring and i think he genuinely almost loves you like
his own son and you get on with him well but you always have a strange (and
untrue) suspicion that he secretly dislikes you.

what worries me the most is the fact that we are going to be in different
time zones and i am going to have to cope without you being there to talk
24/7 as are you. i am going to be living alone and it will be very lonely
but i will become more independent as will you and we both agree that’s a
good thing but i know we are both scared we will become almost too
independent.

a little piece of me wants to call my new landlord and my new boss and say:

“sorry this is such late notice but i decided to decline the apartment/job.
i simply cannot be so far away from everyone in my life but i want you to
know i am really thankful for the offer and i wish you the best in finding
another renter/candidate.”

i tried to call last night but you didn’t let me and i was really angry
because you had no right but now i am thankful because i would have really
regretted it.

life is about taking these steps and moving up and away and i am grateful
for this opportunity i have been given.

thinking about last night reminds me of the fight we had. i knew it was
coming because i was tense and on edge and stressed out and you were upset
so it was hardly a surprise when we started shouting at each other. i cried
in the bathroom and you came in and patted my head and that kind of made
everything better. the fight was stupid as fights usually are and i’m
honestly glad we made up because sleeping on the couch on our last night
together would not have been nice.

now it is time to say the final final goodbye and it doesn’t feel real. my
family members kiss me and hug me and wave me off and then they move to the
side to let you say goodbye. you kiss me in front of my family which i know
embarrasses you but you don’t seem to care and i’m glad of that. i squeeze
your hand and get into the taxi and i start crying really loudly before you
are even out of sight. my mother is crying. the taxi driver looks freaked
out so i wipe my nose on the tissue my dad gave to you. i know my dad
doesn’t want to cry but i know he will. i whisper to you that if my dad
starts crying i want you to tell me. i give you back your tissue and
shut the door. i shut my eyes for a second to take this all in and my heart
feels a bit lighter already. i give the instructions to the driver and he
asks if i am ready and i say yes in a kind of snappy tone which i feel
guilty about. you take a step back and wave. we are driving off and you
wave and wave and wave. my family stands with you and i think that i can
see my dad crying but then again maybe it is just the sun, or my
imagination.

my phone buzzes and i look and it is you and your message reads he is
crying and i giggle in the taxi and i feel better already. our goodbye was
bittersweet but at least i have some kind of closure.

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