Trust In Love – James Gallagher

Unfinished Business

 

I put out my arm, give him a steady handhold as we descend the icy stairs.
His left foot descends one step then his right foot descends one step.
I wait for each to alight.
I am still thinking of how very thin he was within my hug.
“The pace is slow” I say, “but we still get there don’t we, Dad?”
I remember a time when his giant hand engulfed mine and lifting me off
my feet swept me over the sidewalk and I looked up into his eyes and
he was bigger and stronger than anything else I knew.
His left foot descends one step then his right foot descends one step.
I do the same.
“How was the trip?” I ask, to help fill the silence as a couple, one by one,
swing around past us on down the stairs.
But I can’t help but remember one night like a thousand other nights that
I watched him, I a child, he a man, sitting and drinking sitting and smoking
sitting and drinking sitting and smoking sitting and drinking sitting and
talking, sometimes to others and sometimes to no one.
If and when he did speak to me, the words only cut into me deeply.
His left foot descends one step then his right foot descends one step.
“Oh, it was O.K. I guess, but I ate too much before I left and it shook up
my stomach all the way here. But it was my own fault for eating so much.”
His left foot descends one step then his right foot descends one step.
I stare down at our feet, mine mirroring his as we descend.
I can’t help but remember.
“There is some unfinished business between us.” I think,
“Some issues we never have quite put to rest.”
But I just smile at him and feel his hand on my arm.
3/2/96

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