It seems odd to me that, at this time of year when I am usually sad about and missing my mother, my father has been on my mind so much. A lot of recent circumstances and conversations have focused my thoughts on him and who he was and how I became who I am because of him and, as you will soon learn about, the lack of him.
I wrote this piece about my father a while back. I have never published it and have only allowed one person to read it before now…but it seems I am in a period of healing and prayerfully, renewal. I guess it is time that I let go of some of the things that I have held onto so tightly for so long. So, here it is.
It was 5 AM. Early morning early cold 5 AM and he had just finished his shift.
Gray workshirt and pants black workboots over full body thermals under dark work jacket against early morning early cold 5 AM cold.
Midwestern early cold wind cut across his head and face, so cold he pulled a dark wool cap from his dark work jacket pocket and against early morning early cold pulled it over his needing a haircut head and ears
He walks tucks metal lunch bucket under his arm other hand casual waves
with that you know upward nod to his boys and heads off to home.
Him, a husband now not so new anymore but still amazing after five years
that he goes home,
home that word so amazing that he has to say it twice sometimes
I’m going home Man home to a wife so pretty and sweetmean
and his son just three and looking exactly like him
still sleeping now and his baby daughter tiny brown delicate smelling like a new baby daughter
powdery and made to be hugged
thinking about her made him smile and more warm so
he walked faster
faster to home
home where his pretty wife now awake and shuffling softly through the house,
would be rubbing sleep from her brown eyes and ironing her skirt for work
so she would be dressed and in the kitchen stirring soft scrambled eggs
glancing at two strips of bacon and hoping for enough butter for toast,
coffee in the old percolator that her mother gave them
said it made coffee good enough for his father in law while father in law
worked at the steel mill and now that son in law was on at the plant
he would need good black coffee too.
Thinking of his pretty wife moving her lovely hips back and forth in front of the stove timing his eggs so that the eggs would be hot soft scrambled the way he liked
just as he walked in the door not too cooled down or not yet ready so he would have to wait
made him move faster
he started a jog to get home faster
his home where his pretty wife would be warming a plate and cup for him
and son who looked just like him big headed and long brown legs
already the eyes of a son who knows his father works but plays with him too and
delicate baby daughter who needed lots of hugs.
The jogging became a run
a feeling good in the early morning early cold run that would get him home and
when he got home sooner because he ran,
she would pretend to be angry and it would make him smile while he ate his soft scrambled eggs that she would pout and
he would smack her lightly on the behind
Him only 27 and not spotless but now with a home with a pretty wife
a lookalike son and tiny new daughter
Oh he ran faster
on the early morning early cold sidewalk past the bus stop where he didn’t stop
because to catch the bus meant a quarter the he needed to save towards the car that
he wanted to buy so she didn’t have to catch the bus in the early morning early cold to get to work and
some of the fellows from the neighborhood on the way to the dayshift hollered
Hey Man Where you going in such a hurry
but he only ran faster
home Man home
If he got home in time he could watch her finish getting dressed
tucking her blouse in her skirt while he finished his toast and sipped his coffee
then help her bundle the children for the trip to her mother’s so he could sleep,
running past the barber shop and Best Place In Town for Ribs
Black Man Running! Slow down Man! HaHaHa You running from the law?
she would pretend to fuss over what to have for dinner running so he could tell her not to worry he would cook before his shift
and she would turn and smile at him in their house with his son who looked like him and knew daddy worked but played with him too and his delicate baby daughter who needed hugs
Running home to the reason he worked lived breathed ran
running to home his pretty wife and looks just like me son and tiny new daughter who needed hugs
he only heard the sound of his pretty wife saying to his son
You can sleep a few more minutes until Daddy gets home
so he could wrap his son up warm in a blanket and his delicate baby girl for the trip to her mothers before she went to work
Stop or I’ll shoot!
he heard a loud bang
he began to turn but the bullet spun him around
away from home
BANG OHMYGOD BANG
Home! I need to get home!
warmth spread over his chest and stomach but he wasn’t running anymore
Did they just shoot that boy?
Get in the house. It aint our business. Go now!
Oh my God! The police just shot that boy lives down the way!
Did you see that?
Hey, why yall shoot that boy? He wasn’t doing nothing.
His legs still wanted to move kicking a little now and again
Home Man Home
to his pretty sweetmean wife and his lookalike son who would yell
Wake Up Daddy Wake up!
at the funeral and his tiny delicate baby daughter who would not get his hugs
but would grow up to write about how he got killed
in the early morning early cold on the way home to his pretty wife who was making him soft scrambled eggs two slices of bacon hoping for enough butter for toast.
For My Father, William (c) May 2, 2006