It’s 7:00 p.m. and we’ve arrived in Arlington at the University of Texas. My sister is about to graduate…
I remember my own college graduation as being anti-climactic. After 7 years of hard work and graduating without any student loans I felt as though there should have been a greater feeling of completion. We went to Good Eats after graduation and that was it.
My sister’s graduation was a little better. There were two parties planned leading up to her graduation and relatives came into town from Oklahoma to help celebrate.
When we walked into the auditorium my real dad was there standing by the aisle in a nice suit and tie. I was expecting to see him there, but I never really know exactly what to say when I am around him. He’s like a second cousin twice removed that looks like an older, shorter, rounder version of me.
I give him a hug and then move to the far end of the row to get me a seat. My step-dad sat in the row in front of me and we laughed and joked and talked and it seemed odd that after so many years that we are desperately close. We laugh at each others jokes and we have fun together, real fun like I have when I am with my buddies.
I looked down the long row and saw my real dad sitting down there next to some of my sister’s friends. I wanted to say something, but I didn’t know what to say.
The day before I had seen my real dad at a graduation luncheon. Once again I was at one end of a 35 person table and he was at the other. I was infinitely aware of the distance that separated us both literally and figuratively.
I distracted myself with conversation with my step-dad and a friend of the family Eliana. Eliana has a 1 year old boy who is beautiful and sweet. I held him tightly and pressed his cheeks against mine as he stood on my leg. His warm chubbiness felt like a small piece of forever was sitting their in my grasp and I never wanted to let him go.
I saw my real dad looking at me while I was holding Elijah. I wondered what he thought. I wondered if he had ever held me like this. If my cheeks had pressed to his and if so, had he felt that feeling that I was feeling at that moment? If he had, how could he have ever let me go?