Hey, Dad; long time.
Nearly a whole decade, in fact, and each successive slice of it slips by faster than the last, as both you and Mum always warned me it would. Time’s a river, so start paddling if you want to make it through the rapids, right?
Well, it took me a while to suss the truth of that; I’ve never been good at taking anyone’s word at face value without testing the hypothesis myself, have I? The irony here is that you taught me that methodology of life at the same time you tried to teach me that the rules are there for a reason. I think perhaps you blamed yourself for the latter never sticking, but – as rum a ride as it’s been, and promises still to be – I think you actually inculcated the more useful program into me after all. I wish I’d had a chance to apologise for making it so difficult an experience for both of us, though; you last saw me at my lowest ebb. That was maybe partly because you were at yours as well, but hey, we can’t go back and change it. Make your bed, then lay in it… and that’s another one of your favourites that’s stuck with me.
And you were right, the path I chose was a difficult one; it always will be, if you choose to cut your own way through the forest. But you couldn’t see that the paths on the old maps were getting rutted, haunted by brigands and hard-to-see predators; you passed that way a long time befoire I had the choice, and the landscape was very different by that point. At the time I was furious at you for giving me an obsolete map, and I realise now that I should have been more grateful for the fact you left me one at all. Your old man walked out on you before you were even born; perhaps that’s what enabled you to stick to your fatherly guns, a stubborn determination to be better than the example you’d had set for you. And while I still have no wish to become a parent myself (another disappointment, I know), I think maybe it was a matching level of stubbornness that had us lock horns over so much petty crap. Mum says I look more like you every year; I guess it’ll turn out that we’re more like each other than either of us ever wanted to think… which, as ironies go, could be much worse.
I miss you, y’know, though I don’t like to admit it – emotion is a private matter, right? Well, maybe not; I’ve been questioning that one a lot recently, and it’s not holding up well under interrogation. So here’s me admitting it, and saying sorry, and saying I love you.
Rest easy, you old bastard.
Your son, Paul.