Once I Was Seven Years Old

World’s such a big place when you spend your childhood looking up, searching the faces of strangers looking for familiarity. And I spent a lot of my time looking for you in the eyes of others. Wasted my youth reaching out for your hand when you kept pulling away. There’s no evidence of your departure as nothing circumstantial proves you were ever here.

Spent my teenage years writing poetry, reciting the lines and practicing all the words I wanted you to hear. Thought about all the birthdays you missed, all the phone calls you never made. The fishing trips we never had. The trip to the zoo that never happened. The look on your face when you taught me to drive, and the smirk spread across it as I cut myself shaving for the first time. I think about the day that when you met the love of my life and how several years down the line, you met my son for the first time. Think about the moments we should have had, and how’d I be a different man if only you were a strong enough father to teach me all things I needed to learn.

When I offered you a seat at my table, you refused to take it. I did my best to mend what you let break. Wondered if I’d spend my adult life much like my childhood, begging for the affection and attention that should have been given freely. Promised not kill myself for a man who wanted of me. Promised that my son would never know that need. That he would never wonder if his father loved him. That he would never have to steal glimpses of me.

Once, I sped to the front yard after seeing your truck drive by. Couldn’t remember the last time I saw your face. Except it wasn’t you. Never was. And I think about those days, wondering if this may be our last chance to say our proper goodbyes. In a perfect world, I would have been looking up at your face, not searching for it. In a perfect world, you’d know the type of man I grew up to be and wonder if you had some part in it. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t be wondering how I’d feel if I lost you permanently.

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