In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Three Letter Words.”
Upon hearing today’s prompt, I uttered a simple four letter word. Damn, this might be interesting.
We thought that we might be able to do it. Just a simple task, complicated by families later asking where we went. Friday afternoons at my high school were always unpredictable during Autumn. Like plenty of people, football captured people’s attention, pulling them in a direction. We just wanted to have dinner!
Sitting by a staircase leading towards stacks of books, we opened both wallets to estimate what we could afford. A pair of teenagers, we should have planned this last night! Maybe $25 between us, plenty to spend on a meal. Devising a method of transport from school was harder. Boston in mid-October varies by Mother Nature’s whims. Today a perfect example of sunny when we began classes, cloudy with a chance of rain later. We took a chance.
Walking about 2 miles, downhill with sneakers and jackets; in opposition to a joke about explaining this to future children. Those children would be told of snow, ice, flip-flops and a single jacket shared between us. Destination some small Italian place where we could split a pizza while slowly linger over cheesy decor.
Empty, devoid of a single person occupying a seat. 4 o’clock typically a slow time, a bored wait staff worried they were going to be invaded by kids. “No, just us. Take your time, we’re in no rush!” A relieved expression on a girl only a year older.
Sliding into a booth, sitting next to each other rather than across. We knew what we were going to consume. Budgets must be stuck to! Most people would think we talked about gossip, instead it trailed to what to do over an approaching long weekend. A history project, a party, along with a desire to finish a puzzle started on a previous evening. Distinctly different from what people watching us must have thought.
We didn’t have a normal relationship. Patre’s drive to accomplish something overriding everything. Knowing that college would have to be paid through work along with scholarships, it drove everything. Saturday nights were ours to spend doing normal things, other nights books reigned supreme. I think I learned more from those conversations about History than I ever learned sitting in a classroom. I recently told someone that drove me to minor in it during my college days. Ones Patre never experienced.
Lately I have been thinking about those days. Specifically everything that followed. A friend told me I’m very good at beating myself up for things in my past. Absorbing every ounce of blame, even when it couldn’t be my fault. He didn’t speak those words to be cruel, more from concern. My quest to answer some questions continuing to take a toll on me I’m unaware of.
I’ve dealt with loss, blamed myself. The kid, her mother, whatever status update a doctor gives me; absorbing it. A pattern forged years in my past. Somewhere along my path I have become comfortable with my eventual demise, almost welcome it. I sometimes wonder if people might be correct, that Patre is watching my daughter, telling stories about Daddy. Maybe when my time comes, a little girl will tell me about History. Another lesson taught.