His mind flooded with emotion and memories of his father as he stepped into the house where he grew up.  Roy was seventeen years old, and was living in a small apartment near the college he was attending. He lived with his boyfriend, Tristan, who attended the same college as Roy.  Roy was happy, living with Tristan. He hadn’t been happy in quite a while, but the time had finally come. He had to move on with his life, and the only thing he still needed to do was to go back to the house where he grew up.  He needed to face the one thing that was still holding him back.

Roy’s relationship with his father hadn’t always been in a good place.  When Roy was a mere eight years old, his father had already started beating him.  He started with just spanking the boy, but it worsened over a small amount of time.  Roy’s mother never knew about his father’s form of discipline, because they worked on very different schedules.  Therefore, Roy and his father’s relationship wasn’t the strongest.

There were a few times, though, where they really connected.  They both loved music. Music didn’t run in the family, and none of them could really play an instrument or sing.  However, Roy and his father loved listening to music. Roy’s father had loved music starting when he was a little kid, and he had been collecting records ever since.  He had all the old classics; Queen, Rolling Stones, Earth Wind and Fire, Micheal Jackson, etcetera. Because of this, Roy grew up with the old classics, playing on an ancient turntable.  Roy would never forget when he and his father went to see the Rolling Stones in concert. They connected through music that day, screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs and laughing at each other because of how bad they sounded.  They didn’t need words, and neither one could be mad at the other. Roy wouldn’t ever forget that bond with his father.

When Roy was sixteen years old, his father came home with some terrible news.

“I was diagnosed with cancer,” He said, his voice trembling.  Cancer ran in the family, and it was strong. Only one of their family members had survived it, and that was Roy’s mother.  Now it was his father’s turn.

Roy’s father decided to go through with chemo.  He wanted cancer gone, and he didn’t care about the risk.  He had always been that way; a risk-taker. He didn’t think about the consequences of his actions, and he never regretted anything he did.  Not until he got cancer.

One afternoon, Roy’s father was sitting on their couch, thinking.  He had a lot of time on his hands. It was that afternoon that he realized he had a regret; treating his one and only son so poorly.  Roy was a wonderful student, straight As and fantastic behavior. All his teachers and colleagues adored him. But his father thought he was too soft.  He cared too much about everyone’s feelings, and he was very artistic and thoughtful. Roy’s father thought he needed to be more masculine or the stereotype of that.  He thought Roy would be picked on in school when really, he was the only one bullying Roy. Roy’s father didn’t understand Roy, and Roy didn’t understand his father. They had a serious lack of communication.

But while Roy’s father sat on that couch and thought about how he treated his son, he put himself into Roy’s shoes.  He tried to see it from Roy’s perspective instead of his own. Had Roy ever come home crying because of bullies? No.  He cried because of his father. Had Roy ever come home with a bad grade? No. He wasn’t able to focus on his studies because of how hard his father was pushing him, so he always left the house to study at the library.  Roy’s father always wanted the best for Roy, but he failed to see he was actually hurting Roy, not helping him. However, Roy’s father wasn’t able to be “masculine” person he always wanted Roy to be. The chemo didn’t kill the cancer.  Roy’s father died without ever being able to apologize to his one and only son. Roy was left with no closure what-so-ever. So, Roy was determined to get it.  

He walked down the hallway in the house where he grew up.  His mother still lived there, and she didn’t get out much. Her husband had died only months earlier.  There were many pictures hung on the walls; of their family, friends, places they’d visited. All the memories came rushing back, but he pushed them away.  That day was about closure, not dwelling on the past. He walked past his former bedroom, then his parent’s bedroom, then the kitchen, and finally, the living space.  He sat down on a chair that was covered in dust; it was rarely ever used. He sat there and talked to his father, through god.

“Dad, I know I was a disappointment to you.  I know you wanted me to be someone I’m not. But, if it makes you feel any better, I'm attending college.  And doing well.” He smiled to himself. “And, Dad, know I forgive you. For everything. I understand where you were coming from.  I wasn’t the son you always dreamed of. I was different. And you had a hard time accepting that. But please, can we move on from our past?  Because I love you, Dad,” Roy said, his voice breaking. He started to cry but not because he was upset. Not because he was still grieving. But because he had finally made closure with his father, and that was the best feeling in the world.

August 17, 2019 22:06

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