I wasn’t close with my dad. As a matter of fact, we were far apart for as long as I can remember.  My mom told me that when I was still a baby I’d cry and scream when he held me.  My dad would get frustrated and hand me back over to my mom. I’d then be soothed. My mom told me my dad didn’t know why I reacted to him this way.

We were always strangers. I didn’t want to be near him or talk to him. I didn’t like anything about him. And he never seemed to like anything about me either. I remember him always being angry-and me always being scared.  He labored to breathe or something and a part of me just found him offensive. Even as a small child my sensibilities were just plain offended. When he talked he didn’t say anything nice, it was filled with contempt. And smug. As long as I remember, it was as if he went out of his way to hurt me with words or fists-even if I only stood there minding my own childlike business. For a long time, a part of me believed this was my entire fault.

The last time I saw my dad was at my brother’s wedding.  By now I was twenty-six and already long gone from his house. I’d been traveling and doing my own thing and we were now truly strangers- my dad didn’t  know me as a man one bit. I remember it being a sunny day in the park. My dad and I stood face-to-face and he told me I could come back home to live if I wanted. I laughed to myself- what could I say? I truly appreciated the sentiment, but told him I could do no such thing.  He nodded his head and looked wistful. I was glad he asked, but not because I was saying no.

It wasn’t a “moment” or anything that stood out at the time.  I was happy to see him and my family. I was in a “good place” as they say, something of a prodigal son, and “showing my ass” as we do in our youth.

My dad died awhile later.  I screamed out loud when I got the call.  For him it was all of a sudden and I wailed through blurred vision with tears like never before. I lost a part of myself right then and it’s still missing. But he’s here with me since that day in the park.   I vividly remember when he asked me to come home.  I did and never left.

I’ve learned about hindsight. And forgiveness. And making peace. I’m still learning this many years later.  I love and miss my dad.

A lot.parkgazebo



17 thoughts on “THAT DAY IN THE PARK

    • Absolutely. He’s been gone a while but his birthday’s coming up. 🙂 And if it wasn’t for writing this back in 2006 I’m scared that maybe I’d forget.

  1. What a lovely touching story.

    My father and me had a difficult releationship too and he died suddenly aged 66. One memory of him on a quay in Leningrad, me walking behind him, is so dear to me. Like your memory of him that day.

  2. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself, Pete. It seems that clichés become stale, but they originally start from a place of truth …. we don’t know what we’ll miss until it’s gone. Hugs.

    • Do you sense much more? 🙂 I guess there could be more but it stands as is, maybe because it’s one of the first things I seriously wrote awhile back. The “so much more” hopefully comes out in the millions of other words I write haha Thanks for reading bud, appreciate it.

  3. Usually, Pete, I immediately appreciate reading your Community’s responses to your writing, (as well as your replies to them). However, now, before I do, I want to share that I remember when you first wrote about this event. What you said then, made a lasting impression. What you said this time, ‘sears’. “Forgiveness”, what a topic, &, how beautifully you expressed it. Thank you.


    • Thanks I’m glad it did something for you, and yes I feel lucky to have that moment too. Appreciate you taking the time to read and hope you’re doing well over there!

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