Conversations With Dad

I’m not going to lie.

My father has affected me in ways I’ll never fully understand.

Though absent from the world, he is ever-present in my world. He makes appearances in my dreams, the sleeping kind. But he also shows up when I’m Dreaming–those fleeting moments when I think I’ve figured out what, you know, I just might do with my life.

Now, on the cusp of my thirtieth year, I keep returning to things I said to him. Things that have assumed a life of their own. In two instances, I remember exactly what I said, the precise order the words tumbled from my mouth.

“But I want to be an intellectual.”

Here, we were discussing my disjointed career plans. If I wasn’t going to become a high school teacher, what would I do? Why, I’d be a professor, I declared, as if teaching college kids is more noble, more cerebral, than instructing secondary school students.

The line above was uttered during a rather ordinary talk we had regarding my future. But when neither choice materialized, I reverted to my philosophical, albeit depressed, state of mind.

“I am all alone in this world.”

Here, I was lecturing my father about the reality of my predicament. No matter how many people stood by me, I was ultimately stuck in my own head, condemned to view life through the veil of my own distorted perception.

No one could figure me out but me. And, being in such a sad state, I had only shattered inner mirrors to reflect my pain.

Of course, these statements–in one form or another–still apply. I like to think of myself as intelligent, even without a teaching degree. And I remain the only one behind my thoughts.

The major difference: You’re not here anymore, Dad.

But, in truth, you really are.