The text came from nowhere, jarring me from present to past in an instant.
Words, from Maine to California.
From my brother…
Cleaning out mom’s attic. Were u ever looking for your dad’s old Vietnam diary?
No… I wasn’t looking for it.
Because I didn’t even know it existed.
I’ve spent my life wishing for something… anything… that could help me to know him in some way and in an instant, that became possible.
K. found some stuff. i’ll set it aside n ship it 2 u.
How did I not know it even existed? Did I ever ask my mom? Did she forget she had it? Is there something between those covers that she didn’t think I was ready to read?
Everything I know about my dad has been told to me by someone else… filtered through their own experiences and love for him.
Though I’ve longed to know what my dad thought of me… of being a parent… of how he viewed his world, I’m preparing myself for much less.
Yet, somehow, maybe more.
Maybe it will be filled with what he ate, music he loved, places he visited.
Maybe I’ll find clues to who he was. Hints at the way he and I are alike… the parts of who I am that are hardwired… handed to me at birth, before he could teach and influence me.
I’ve longed to find some tangible thread to connect us.
Waiting for my brother to mail to me the very thing that I’ve grieved the non-existence of is truly excruciating.
I didn’t ask him what it says. I won’t because I can’t.
Hearing his words over the phone would cheapen them, somehow.
Even if they simply read, “It was hot today. Had a ham sandwich for lunch.”
Somehow, even the simplicity of that will be enough.
But, now I wait.