A Letter To My Daddy

 

10455925_10203883886476037_6495732870191751246_n

Hello dad, it is me once again celebrating you, in my own way.  How I wished you could read this one more letter, but fate has made your carousel to stall all of a sudden, the music to stop playing and the bell to stop ringing.

I just want to tell you how much I love you, how much I miss our talks, how much I miss being your child. A large, dark cloud though hovers over you.

Dad, I miss running to you with my worries and hearing your thoughts whenever crucial decisions bothered me. I remember you sitting silently, listening with your left arm folded and slightly biting into your right thumb. You never judged or preached but were always ready to give some advice. Our shared values are still with me. I embrace them. I treasure them.

Authoritarian you never were! And it is from you that I learned what choice meant, what determination was.

We never went fishing, we never played pool, we never played ball but we always went to The Game, Soccer that is. You would linger with the bigwigs and I, with the peeps, so I could yell my lungs out.

Occasionally, we would go to the bashes but you were too shy to be caught dancing. A point that makes me question where I got my dancing shoes from.

You are smart and intelligent, a thought-out individual. You introduced me to books in your stuffed library, books of all sorts of shapes and colours and tastes. You infused in me that sense of conscientiousness and self-worth. It does not matter, you said, ignore the ignorant long enough and they will go away. No sense in fighting them.

You detested conflicts; it was not your forte. I never heard you complaining or arguing; I never saw you screaming or yelling at anyone.

I never saw you but showing genuine love and deep respect to mom– your love for her was untainted, unadulterated, extraordinary; you perpetual love affair made and still makes me burn with envy. I never heard you raising your voice or your hand on her and for that I could never thank you enough. Perhaps, you were otherwise somewhere else but that is a foreign elsewhere to both me and my sister.

You are not a blabber; you never were. You are a man of a few words I noticed. You barely shared your thoughts. We were often left to read in between the lines when you sat alone in the sofa; always with your eyes close, your hands going through your balding head while now and then I caught you recklessly chewing on your nails. We knew better. You always spoke in metaphors; so, us girls were left to translate them.

It was your dry sarcastic sense of humor that made my funny side possible. You traveled the world over returning with stories that you shared at dinner. Oh, how I miss those moments! We would sit and talk about things. My mother was the butt of a lot of our jokes but she didn’t mind; it was all in good fun.

Long before email, FaceBook or Skype sucked us in, I had your letters. You wrote often and your letters were delightful. You always knew what to say and how to say it. You knew how to satiate my anxious salivating soul. I enjoyed them then and do enjoy them now. Then they stopped coming, they were no more. I wish you could see the way we talk today Dad. It is so instant now; with a click I could have seen and heard you, even when you are thousands of miles away.

Once upon a time, I was your princess, your finicky little girl and your young tomboy; today, I am your anguished daughter.

Dad, I so miss you. I miss talking to you. I miss our conversations. I miss our moments. I miss exchanging a few words with you. I miss hearing your sarcastic humor and calm voice, your good manners and your beautiful heart. I miss all of you but you are not here. I can only commit to the memories and dream that one day you will be able to stand again. I imagine you all “fixed up” but I know better; I resort to just wishing.

Thank you for being my dad, thank you for having been my friend.

Happy Father’s Day!

A Long Lost Note!

AhnNote

I am a pack rack, not a hoarder, just a pack rack. I pack things I find “important”, interesting, keepsakes that need to be treasured.

This note was written by Dennis, signed by Dennis and Ahn, and left on top of my keyboard. I found it one day upon returning to my desk. Perhaps, it reflects the frame of mind I was in – I must have been feeling extremely blue for them to slip it – as I do not recall the episode one bit.

We were three unlikely individuals who bonded instantaneously as soon as we were brought together.

Dennis and Ahn were two of the finest human beings I have ever met. They were very polite, respectable and caring individuals. We sat across from each other and made up an interesting trio; Dennis this cute 5’7” ½ blonde Caucasian from West Virginia, Anh 5’4” dark hair from Vietnam and I, from “The South Chicago” another foreigner land.

To make the day less dull and help pass the time, we conjured up creative ways to make it more stimulating. Jokes were the main dish and Dennis was the ringmaster. He used to effervescently make fun of us both, mocking us with no tomorrow as a manner of fact, especially about our accents. Statements that today would perhaps be considered politically incorrect. We did not mind; it was consented and it was Dennis.

We were in our usual goofy selves one day when we noticed that Anh was weirdly quiet; he was extremely guarded, not his normal self. He was robotic and preoccupied. It struck us as worrisome as we tried in vain – while giving him his space – to make him smile but it was in vain. We were oblivious to the motive and could not understand nor grasp the sudden change in his attitude, and yet, we explored anything to trigger his smile but he would not budge. He would not even wince.

You see, Anh had his moments. He would sometimes dive into lala land, into deep thoughts becoming stalled and uncommunicative; so, we thought he was on his “zone” and just wanted to be left alone, needed his space.

We were thrilled and silently clapped when he finally came to himself. The smile returned but it would not be for long. There were storms brooding.

Anh had been absent for a while. We had no idea why but we didn’t take it as him being on vacation. If that were the case, he would have brought it up some point during our many conversations. So, we refused to speculate the worse.

It came as surprise however, a few months later, when it was announced during our staff meeting that Anh was going to be away for a while; permanently they said. He no longer was going to be a part of the team; he was not coming back. He was really, really sick.

The news hit us hard; Dennis and I. We were stunned, confused and surprised to learn that Anh was even sick less again dying of cancer – consequence of Asian Orange dropped in Vietnam. It apparently came as shock to Ahn as well; he had no idea he was even sick. He had not been to the hospital and had not done any tests.

It was not long after the revelation that we mourned our friend. He did not hang that long. He stopped by the office one day, all weak and pail with his boldy head but always sporting his contagious smile. We tied to be goofey one more time, for old time sake, by drawing pictures of ourselves in his head but he would not allowed. It just smiled and raised his arms in protest.

He hugged us and waived goodbye, promising to come back but he never did. He was never seen again at least by us. Just as we learned of his illness, just as we learned of his death. I wonder if he is up there smiling at the fact that I kept this note after so many years. Rest In Peace Ahn.