I was laying in Ophelia’s room waiting for her to fall asleep when my chest grew tight.
I was allowing my mind to wander. Ophelia’s facial features and what appear to be motor skill delays make me suspect that she may have fetal alcohol syndrome. Then I thought, my father would know and he could help me begin helping her right away.
He was an adaptive physical education teacher for years. More years than I’ve been alive, I believe. We had a painful and distant relationship. Then he died, suddenly about a year and half ago.
The shock and grief that came with the loss of him was sudden and brief, but occasionally, when I least expect it I feel it again.
Today I imagined that Zeb and now Ophelia would have been the possible open the door for us to reunite. If he were still living, he probably would have bought the house they were shopping for right around the corner from me. We would have met up at my aunts once or twice. He would have met the other kids. Then, when these two came along with physical delays, I would have called him up.
I would have asked for help. I know I never would have said anything about the hurt we shared. I never would have tried to overtly make peace, but he’s the only one I would know who would know how I could help them at home. It would have been so convenient and we may have talked more.
I would have thanked him. I may have gotten to hear him say ‘I love you’ after all these years. It wouldn’t have been perfect. There would still have been the burden of not-rightness. It would have been painful and uncomfortable, but it would have been possible.
Now it’s not. It never will be again. And that hurts more than any of the other hurts either of us could have ever inflicted.