I swirl my stubby espresso cup and draw the first sip. It is wonderous how the first sip of coffee promises a tantalizing sensation, only to rob you of that expectation just after you pass that bitter lush foam. Then it’s just coffee.
I pondered over the revolving taste in my mouth and took my eyes off the cup to witness the melancholic stupor peering from my father’s eyes.
The temptation to start a conversation with my old man was vigorous enough to draw first blood.
“So what’s been up with you guys?”I keep the answer open for a more general approach. For I knew how much he hated it being all about him.
But the usual answer forbade my daring hope for a more profound response.
“Nothing, same old, same old.”
I would’ve sworn that the man had more to hide than that. For I knew much more than he had to betray. A man encased with so many shells, some rough, with spines, coming down to the sensible raw creature who was my father. His years were blaring at me in the numerously scattered creases under his eyes dropping along the rim of his now plump lips.
He was void of energy and will, besides the necessary whim of survival.
I try to ask again, but a shattering wave dispensed of my nascent notion to talk further. It was more potent than the usual urge to establish communication.
His countenance was familiar to me, a haze of a past image alluring to the symbol of vigor and strength he once possessed, those same eyes, now dropping under wrinkled lids, were the same firey orbs that shot lances into my spirit whenever I faced him with my aspirations and dreams.
The same face that bared no remorse for scoffing my words. for discarding the very budding humanity I was to claim. Those hands, now covered in thin mottled skin, and bulged veins, were the same hands that delivered smiting pains of reproval, the same taps of thunder onto my aware body. It sent waves of destruction right into the depths of my soul, rewriting my essence, they were more than blows to my flesh, more like lashing tides, warping the image I had of myself.
His blows and insults threw me from the precipice into a dark, cold couldren of molten shame and disgust. It took so many years, to reclaim my identity as a human being, and much more to call myself a man.
Was it a journey of experience, of growth into the hardened shell I now occupy? Or was it a needless passage of torture, a hurdle I was burdened to cross? Or an eternal smear laced into my green fabric of being, forever to mark the years I had struggled? Were my years with this being that brought me into this world a sentence, or a test of my matter? Was fate a conscious pondering thing that examines its creation with trials of spiraling fear and torment? Was I merely the lab-rat which exceeded every known expectation? Was I the rogue variable that defied the inheritance cycle of violence?
I gazed again at my old man, and there he was, the man that wrought the metal seams into my pure, unblemished flesh; the one that carried the cosmic sentence I had to undergo. He was an old agent, past his prime in time. Now a loitering creature, lounging through his last days.
My son arrives at the table, and I witness in his eyes the joy I had barely known in my early years. That elating rush of meeting your father. He says hello to both my parent and me. He taps my hands asking me to join him in his venture for the day. I look back to my father, not to ask for his approval, for that myth never had the grounds to stilt its long withered feet. Yet, I sensed the revelation that called me with words simple enough to cast the arcane demons that ruled my memories.
That life gave Me a chance to make things right. In a way, I was the godly element that brought the necessary balance into this world. When life deals you wrong, you play the best out of it.