December 22nd

A distant relationship between father and son is further stressed when the family gets together for Christmas.

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4. Rekindled

 

I woke up in the middle of the night with stomach pains. I shuffled to the bathroom and crapped my insides out. I vowed to never eat Amy’s cooking again. Exiting the bathroom was like exiting a sauna. I noticed the kitchen light on.

 “They forgot to turn off the light.” I grumbled.

When I got to the kitchen I saw Mike at the table with my bottle of scotch. He looked up at me then back down to his scotch.

“What are you doing up?” He asked me. “Umm your wife’s cooking. I would advise you steer clear of the bathroom.” This didn’t get anything out of Mike.

“Are you alright Mike?” I asked him.

A minute of silence passed when he said,” Do you hate me dad?”

“I don’t hate you Mike.” I said in a soft tone.

“I meant what I said today. I said it from the bottom of my heart.”

 He lifted his now watering eyes to me.

“I hate myself for not seeing her. I hurt her and I hurt you.”

 My chest began to ache with emotion. My breathing became shallow.

“Dad I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

My hands began to tremble.  

“I know you are son.” I bent forward to embrace his now shaking frame.

Mike cried quietly to himself and grasped my arm tightly in his hand. For the first time in eight years tears trickled down my worn face.

“I’m sorry too.”

 We held each other for a long time. I didn’t want it to end.

                Morning came and I felt as if it was the first day of my life. I felt fresh and new. Having established a connection with my son after so long, it felt as if a huge void in my life had been filled. I went out into the living room and saw Amy Mike and Ally on the couch.

“Ah you’re finally up.” Amy said.

Ally looked a little eager to get things started.

“Come on dad let’s not keep Ally waiting. “ Mike said with a smile.

 We opened the front door and right outside the walkway a tree covered treasures for Ally to discover. Like any child would at the site of presents she ran as fast as her little legs could take her. The rest of us walked behind her. Ally ravaged the presents one by one, more excited by what she found inside them. It was nice to see her act like a child for once.

“Oh this one must be from grandpa.” I said while pulling out a present from behind me. Ally came up to me and I handed her the small box. She opened it and found a rigged looking straw doll in it. When Mike saw it his eyes widened.

“That use to be moms!” Mike exclaimed.

“Yes I thought it would be great to give Ally.” I responded.

“Are you sure dad? You have had that doll for a long time.”

I looked at him and smiled a heartfelt smile.

“I’m sure.”

Ally seemed confused as she inspected the doll. I looked to the lake. A small portion of the lake had melted and the ducks were now swimming in it. 

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