Brian Robert Taylor
Brian Robert Taylor
As I stand here near the edge of the Suisun Slough, waiting to see my father for the first time in six years, I can barely remember my only memory of him:
I was only six at the time; I remember being at the park with my mother and father. I was in a swing when suddenly, my mother became very upset. She yelled and screamed at my father, who, as I remember, seemed frustrated. I didn't see what caused the commotion, but it was very frightful for me as a child. My father finally turned to leave, and as I watched him walk away, I saw him for the last time.
My mother and I got along just fine. although I felt left out when all the other kids told me what they were going to do with their fathers: going fishing, camping — all kinds of things. My mother wouldn't dare try to do any of those things with me. I wasn't able to go camping until only a year back — but only because my mother begged one of my friend's father to take me.
I reached into my pocket and found an old, bent up photo of him. He looks like the perfect father — if he hadn't left the way he did. He didn't even write. In fact this is the first time he has written to me, to tell me that he wants to see me.
Hold it! I didn't come here to criticize him. I just want to meet him, see what he is like, what he does for a living. Maybe even, do something with him.
Thinking about the moment when we meet makes me feel a little queasy—
"Hey," said some guy, "you OK?" he asks.
"I'm fine," I say, "Uh, have you seen this man around?" I hold up his picture so that he could see.
"Nope." Can't say that I have."
"Thank you," I say and return the picture to my pocket.
All these years I've missed having him around, but never really thought about what kind of a person he must be. It all seems so strange that I'm about to find out so much about my father in just a short while.
Out on the water are some ducks — floating along as if they don't have a care in the world; here I am, so worried. I used to wish I could be a bird a few years ago. Perhaps I thought I could fly fast and high enough to escape my fears. But what have I to fear? What in my life could cause such terror? What could cause such—
The wind. The cool breeze from over the water cools my face. I didn't realize I'd been sweating. Am I simply nervous? The ducks have noticed the wind too, and have swam to shore with their ducklings. A willow tree nearby is whipping its branches in the wind. It's beginning to feel pretty chilly — I hope he is coming. I'd hate to have waited out here, only to be stood up by him. Some father he is.
Just calm down, he'll show. I keep telling myself, but I'm not so sure anymore. Wait! I see a truck. Is it him? I run over to see. Nope. Just a family stopping to look at the water. They missed the ducks.
A rain drop falls on my forehead. I look up and the sky is cloudy. The willow tree looks kind of inviting now that the wind has died down a little. I walk over to it and stood under the arching branches.
"Hey," says a voice behind me. I spin around to see who it is.
"What —" I begin, but am too startled to finish.
He wraps his arm around my neck and kicks my feet out from under me. As I lie there, held down by the weight of his body, all kinds of reasons race through my mind for his wanting to kill me: He doesn't want to pay child support. He's a murderer. He doesn't like me. He —
"Hey kid! I missed you!"