My dearest, beautiful, and loveliest girl, I write this to you now. I write this to you if only to rest my weary heart in these words and have it read by you. I fear… I have cancer. Lungs.
It’s as we suspected, I know. But to hear them say it. Their sympathy almost seemed practiced. I suppose it is.
If I made a profit from telling others the message of their deaths, I suppose I would have to learn its practice as well.
Isn’t this a cynical world? I suppose I am worn by this sorrow, but also more than that. I am worn by regret. You are my greatest joy and my ugliest mistake.
I suffered you to this world for my own selfishness and neglected your heart in my desire of gambling. This is God, I say. Punishing a father worthless of everything.
Worthless of love, of care, and now, of life. I am feeble and pathetic now, I admit it.
No, truth be told and honestly said, I have been feeble and pathetic and bitter and rotten for many years now. Many, many years… All I can I say is, the only thing I can say is… I’m sorry.
Your father, Richard
Richard sighed, stowing away his notepad beside himself. He sat on an old park bench along the park road, surrounded by clear fields and oak trees beyond that.
He lowered his head and buried in his face his hands, shoulders trembling.
His fingers parted, allowing him sight of a young boy – eight or nine, red-cheeked and skin like sunshine sand – standing in front of him, a smile not unlike Heaven’s grace and eyes of the morning sky.
The boy expressed a placid expression with his soul-bending stare, licking his ice cream.
Shaking his head, Richard sniffled before wiping his red nose. “What?!”
“Why are you crying?”
“None of your business, boy – get lost!”
“I think I am already,” said he, climbing beside the old man and plopping down, licking still his ice cream.
Richard released a heavy huff, frowning and scowling and growling and glowering over the boy. “If you don’t mind, I would really like to be alone!”
The boy glanced at him. “Why?”
“Because- Because-!” He raised his hands and jaggedly bent his fingers, stutters escaping him as the redness around his face built. “Ah, forget it! I don’t have to explain this to a child!”
The boy shrugged, turning back to his treat. “Okay.”
Richard exhaled deeply, then turned away. He peered both sides of the road: no one was there. “Young man, where are your parents?”
“I didn’t come here with my parents. It’s just me.”
“You walked here alone and got lost?”
“Mhm!” He nodded with a cheerful tone. “Are you lost?”
“Me? Of course not!”
“Hmm… you look lost.”
Richard slowly turned to the boy. “What… what do you mean?”
The boy stopped slurping his ice cream, wiping his chin. He gazed into his eyes with a less carefree visage. “The way you’re sitting… and your eyes… you look like you don’t know where to go.”
Richard met the boy’s stare for a moment then chuckled, looking down at his hands. “Yes, hm… I suppose you’re correct. I don’t know where to go.”
“Why don’t you just go home?”
Richard chuckled harder before shaking his head solemnly. “There’s no more home for me...”
The boy giggled. “You’re funny, old man. Everybody has a home somewhere.”
“Not me… I’ve destroyed my home.”
“Oh.” The boy, having finished the ice cream, fixed his attention on it. “Why can’t you fix it?”
“Because… it’s been broken for a long, long time.”
“But that doesn’t mean you can’t fix it. We all need a home. Without your home, where are you gonna sleep and feel warm and eat? You should go fix it.”
Richard allowed a small smile, closing his eyes and breathing calmly. “It’s easier said than done...”
The boy jumped down, then handed to Richard the notepad. “Once you write about it, you know how to do it.”
“Thank you, young man.” He took the notebook, perusing his pockets for a pen.
“What is your name anyway…?” When he found it, he saw no sign of the boy, on neither sides of the road nor anywhere else.
Richard glanced at his notepad, narrowing his eyes upon seeing that the page he had written was ripped off and gone. Again, he looked for the boy, but found no one.
His eyes rested on the paper, a sigh exhaled.
How are you, my sweet and beautiful child? A lot has happened recently. I’m writing this to you now to tell you a most important thing: I’m coming home.