Sunday, August 07, 2016

Are You There, Daddy? It's Me, Matthew

Daddy? Daddy, it's me, Matthew.

Matthew! I miss you so very much.

Daddy? Why do I have to live here?

(Daddy is silent)

Daddy, did I do something wrong? Do you still love me?

Of course I love you, son. I love you more than my own life. My life is so empty without you and your sister in it. It's just... (here Daddy pauses to wipe away a tear) it's just that things were hard for Mommy and Daddy. You hurt me so much, Matthew, and I couldn't understand why you did it. I was supposed to know the answers, Matthew. That's what Daddy's are for. I tried so hard to figure it out for you, Matthew, because you couldn't tell me.

Daddy, I'm sorry for all the times that I hurt you. I don't know why I did it. And I wish I could have told you how sorry I was. But it was really hard for me too. When I was hurt I couldn't tell you. When I was mad, I couldn't say why. The doctors didn't help me. All that medicine you made me take, it didn't help me. But you did help me, Daddy! I knew that you loved me. You showed me.

And you showed me too, Matthew. I loved taking you to the store, I loved buying you your cookies, I went to your Pinewood Derbies... I didn't care who looked at us, or what they thought of us. You were my son, and your sister was my daughter. End of story. Nothing else mattered to me.


Yes, son?

Why do we have to live here?

(Daddy pauses for a long while)

I tried as hard as I could to be a good Daddy, but I'm just... I failed you, son. I couldn't do it anymore. You and your sister were my life and my joy. I was and still am so proud of both of you. But it was just too hard. I wish I was like other Daddys, Matthew. But I'm not. Parenthood was the only thing I enjoyed in life, but it turned out to be above my pay grade.


Yes, son?

You have to be happy. You have to find joy in something.

How, son? The things I once cared about mean nothing to me now. The things that people deem to be important... they just don't matter, son. To them, maybe. To me, not anymore.

(Daddy is openly weeping now. Matthew hands him a tissue. And another one. And then the whole box.)

You have to find something. Even if the thing you find is the smallest of small. Grab ahold of it, Daddy. Hold on to it as if you were holding on to me or Rebecca. It doesn't matter what it is, and it doesn't matter what other people think of it. Hold on as if your very life depended on it. I don't know why I did the things I did, Daddy. And I don't know why I have to live here. But you have to survive, Daddy. I need you. I need my Daddy!

You are very wise, son.

You taught me well. You're my Daddy.