My thoughts shifted to earlier days and my father. That always brought on a sadness I still couldn't shake. Sure I had, will have, money. But that was my father's doing, not mine. I just picked up the ball after his death, and reluctantly at that. Untimely death was more like it.
I thought back to December l984. We had grown close just the year before. Both of us, I think, were trying to make up for lost time. We didn't make many connections while I was growing up. Maybe it was the gap in years. He was fifty-five when I was born. I often wondered how he reacted when my mother told him she was pregnant. Probably not the same as how he felt when he was younger. Years change us. Life changes us. He met my mother. They had a wonderful relationship. I think when you marry later in life, you marry for different reasons. Companionship maybe.
That last year made up for everything. Damn, if only we'd had one more year together. Why hadn't I ridden in with him that morning? The old question. I ran it through again. I'd worked late the night before, but I could have gotten up. He had wanted me to sleep. Maybe if I had been there
No, it wouldn't have made any difference. Maybe I'd be dead too. It always came back to this: my father's love for me had saved my life.
The police report said it was a homicide. Gang violence. There was a lot of it back then. Drug gangs. Territory disputes. Sometimes innocent people got in the way. It was believable; I could see that. But not for me. Only my father and Reggie knew the truth. It's so clear to me even after all this time. And the images: the emergency room, my father in his bed, his last words. I had held his hand and tried not to cry.
"I'll take care of everything, Dad."
"Take care of yourself!"
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