Thursday, February 8, 2018

Night Talks, We Listen

He visited me at work for tea one afternoon.

He walked through the office and kitchen of a Georgian mansion, with his faded jeans, leather coat, and shuffle-swagger - slightly crooked, from years of carrying a guitar. 

Stopping by, to squeeze my shoulders too hard, plant a kiss on my forehead, put a smile on to say hello to everyone.

He sat in the lounge, chatting and drinking tea, while I typed a few emails. 
After a long quiet moment, when the lounge was empty of all but us, he said,

"I admire your work ethic."

His voice was soft, and broke a little. 
I looked up from my screen, and his eyes were teary.

"I admire you. I'm proud of you."
I smiled, said thank-you, and puzzled a bit. 

To be honest, it was an unfamiliar moment. I wasn't sure how to respond. 
I was at work, as well...
and I thought those things mattered.

I wish I had responded as heartfelt.

I didn't know that simple gesture - the open vulnerability he offered - would remain so vivid and profound.

That it would be the thing that comes to mind on restless nights. 
When school gets overwhelming. 
When winter months have me feeling low. 
When, for a minute, I can't seem to care enough to do better.

I didn't know then, that he'd soon be gone.

I didn't know how that small, simple moment would embody so much of who I knew.

Perhaps that's what parenthood does; 
some depth of him reached, stirred, shaken gently and told
"Wake up! It's time to love with all you've got."

All you've got. 

The insecurities. The tenderness. The envy. 
The exposure. 
The fear, and failure. 
The selfish, and selfless.

The love... that it be stronger, always humming beneath the rest.

... Perhaps it was some depth of him,
    reaching for some depth of me,
    to say the same.

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