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In early memories I have of you, we're in Cuautla, Morelos (Mexico). I recall running to your electronics shop to tell you that my brother had been apprehended. Not a second passed before you had reached a decision. You grabbed your gun and we went to the place where my brother was being held. You were ready to commit the biggest of all crimes in your need to protect your son. That's the kind of father you are.
From the Cuautla incident, those who don't know any better might infer you are an impulsive person. You're no such thing. You're calm, and it stands out in times of crisis. I was about 13 years old when I fell off my bike and came home with my face covered with blood. I went through the living room into the rest-room without caring to see who stood on my way. I needed to see my wound in the mirror. Seeing how I walked in suspiciously, you followed me, and when you saw my face, you asked me what had happened as you took care of the wound. I was in tears, you were all peaceful. Your calmness sent me the message that things were going to be alright.
A similar episode took place years later. This time it was not my face bleeding, it was my heart. My heart had been broken and my sadness was killing me. I came up to you, and I tried to hide my pain. Remembering I could trust you with anything, I just erupted and kneeled next to your bed. I placed my palms against my face, and imposed on you one of the most disturbing situations a father can experience... seeing his adult son cry. With my first love no longer around, I felt the most lonesome man on Earth. Once again, in a calm way, you told me that my pain would go away. You said my new job would take away my feeling of alienation. I haven't fully recovered, but my love for my job has eased my pain, as you predicted.
I know you're not the kind of person to hug your children and tell them they're loved. No, you're not the kind to go shopping and bring everyone gifts. You're not like that. It's not your style. Instead, you offer understanding. The understanding one seeks during one's youth, the stage of trouble. When one of your children makes a boo-boo, you make sure one acknowledges the error and then you let one go. You do not bother to devise a punishment. You expect one to learn from the experience and the lecture that followed it. That day of the trip to the Glendale Galleria, I came home with part of my face swollen. I walked up to you and told you what had happened. You reacted calmly. You didn't tell me that I deserved that bump on my face. Nor did you prohibit me from kicking back with my friends. The talk is all I needed and it was all you gave me.
Trust and support are key words when it comes to describing our relationship. I have the feeling that if one day I ended up hurting someone lethally, you'd ask for the location of the body and then you'd tell me to get TWO shovels from the garage. :) Hehe, it's silly and morbid to mention that, but it's what I feel. I believe you consider me to act responsively. I believe you know that if I ever get myself in that serious a situation, it would be because there was no other path to take. You'd feel sad for me, but you wouldn't walk away from me in my time of need. You'd give me your advice and blessings.
They say that "behind a great man stands a great woman". Were I to look behind my father, I wouldn't see anyone. No woman stands behind him. The great woman of his life stands next to him, never behind, and you are she. If in this lifetime I don't get to hug you and tell you that I love you, I hope the Señor does it on my behalf, because, although I only manifest a frigid side to you, I love you... I do.
They also say that "eyes are the window to one's soul". If that holds true, I hope you catch a glimpse of mine, though I doubt you'll get the chance to do so. As I do in the presence of the Señor, I tend to look the other way when your eyes look for mine. I feel that if you were to see my teary eyes, you'll ask what's wrong, thinking that a woman has let me down. You'd never suspect that I'd be teary-eyed as a result of the love and pride a woman has induced in me. A woman who loved me before she knew me, and will love me beyond my death. A woman whose love is unconditional. The same woman the Señor CORRECTLY chose as his eternal companion three years before I was even a thought. That woman is you.
The past cannot be modified, and some experiences are to never be forgotten. In my mind will always live the scene of you leaving our home in Mexico, forced by fate, that February evening of the year 1988. I was laying in bed, faking to be sick, imploring you to stay. Then there's also the time when you were having a conversation with your boss, in front of my sister and I, telling her that we didn't seem to love you. Do you recall how much my sister and I cried? Our tears spoke, when our mouths couldn't.
Not all memories of me showing love date back to my childhood. My eyes have cried for you, and in your presence, in recent times. It was only a few months ago when you went into my room and told my sisters and I that you felt unloved by us. You told us that you had been diagnosed with an illness, yet, according to you, we didn't seem to care. Once again, my eyes couldn't handle your expressing such falsity. I got off my chair and walked to the corner of the room, where my eyes poured themselves out. You left, but returned a few hours later. This time, I asked you to take my seat in front of the computer, and I stood behind you, and read to you the story about our family's arrival to California, a story manifesting your strength. Do you recall the pauses I made as I read to you, in my attempt to keep myself from bawling? Recall my tears falling on your shoulder, or the way I kept my eyes on the text as a way to avoid your eyes? I do, and thanks to that moment, regardless of what's to become of me tonite, tomorrow, or decades from now, I will not have left without having expressed what I feel for you... love.
Señor and Señora...
The years are taking a toll on me, and they are taking a toll on you. The day will come when you'll no longer be there to take care of the wounds life is to inflict on me. In my decades alive, that's the inevitable day I've come to dread the most. When I lose you, I'd have lost the two people I've always seen myself sharing the world with... my mom and dad... my "padre" and my "amá".. the "Señor" and the "Señora"... no matter how I refer to you, you're one and the same.. my beloved parents.