I know you were under stress, raising my sister and I and starting a new life in a new town. It just seemed like yesterday when mom christened the boat, with a thick bottle of champagne at the launch dock, your five year labor of love built from scratch in the backyard, which joined other boats floating in the harbor. You worked with your hands day and night, maybe trying to forget your own past with your old man, who drank a lot and napped in a dark corner of the house with a shotgun. You wanted a semblance of normal, which exceeded normal and went into that little sneaky devil: abnormal. Our family floated through hundreds of hours of television on automatic pilot, as mom got breakfast, lunch and dinner ready and a silence fell on us at the table. You wanted to throw the ball with your son, who had the curly little blond locks of hair, which you had mom cut and save in an envelope because it was precious to you. It was that day when you tried throwing the ball to me and it hit me in the mouth, that we never had that innocent chance at play, again. We both became adversaries with our ego, to see which one would crumble first. Silence filled the house except for mom, who begged me to speak to you. Your anger was built upon a deceptive family legacy, patched up on the falsities of manners and laughter. We tried and had moments of true Father and Son, watching the geese migrate overhead, from the love seat in the living room. You tried coming to school events when I begged for you to stay home. And when it was your turn to share something personal with me, I looked away. Never eye to eye, until one day I left and didn’t return. It broke you. You and mom went to counseling. Mom had nightmares I was dead. Two years passed as I, unknowing to you, lived two blocks away. A dread filled me and it sobered me to come home and reconcile. Our big-headed game of Chicken with our egos was finally over. You opened the door as I came back to you and there was peace and it’s been that way ever since. I love you.
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