I stare across the table, over the steam rising from my mocha. I haven’t seen Dad for nearly thirty years and I recognize the irony of him sipping a mug of coffee rather than Guinness.
“So, why are you here?” I shiver from the icy tone in my voice. He flinches.
“Son, I’m sorry.”
My breath catches. I never expected him to utter those words. Ever.
“I messed up. Life is about choices and I chose me over you.”
No, you chose the bar over me. I cross my arms over my chest.
“Never could say no to alcohol or women and they’ve led me into a dark alley.”
“What do you want from me?”
He shifts his gaze down to the table. “My soul is dead; too far gone to heal. I don’t want my problems to burden you.”
“Hmpf.” I smirk. “You’ve been dead to me since the day you walked out and started a new family.”
He reaches across the table and clasps my hand in his. “Please, son. Let go of the anger. I’m sorry.” His eyes fill with tears.
I’m surprised by the lump in my throat and confused that the old man’s touch comforts me. The last time his skin touched mine was when he belted me for taking a swig of his beer. I was eleven and wanted to be just like him. Thank God I’m not.
A shrill staccato beep cuts through the moment. I feel like I’m with him but somewhere else at the same time. I wonder if something stronger taints my mocha.
“Honey, wake up. Your brother’s on the phone.”
My wife, Amy, releases her grasp on my hand and gives me the phone. Still groggy, I put it to my ear. “Hello?”
“Mike. I know you said you didn’t care, but I thought you should know… Dad died last night.”
Heal: to restore to original purity or integrity <healed of sin>
I know dream sequences are frowned upon, but dreams fascinate me so much when they interwine bits from reality in them. In my younger years, there were times I’d wake up unsure of whether something really happened or if it was a dream. It’s such an odd feeling. Thanks so much for reading, please feel free to share your thoughts!