correspondence tuesday [twelve]

Monday, June 30, 2008 / Comments (0) / by elizabeth

for the past couple of years, I've tried to set aside time on tuesdays to write letters or send packages to the important people in my life who don't live near me. i decided to bring it to the blog and write to an anonymous [important] person each tuesday. this is the twelfth edition - enjoy!

in the summer of 2000 i wanted to work at a camp, and the one where i got a job was in PA. so you took about a week off of work and decided to drive me up there, with the intention of spending time together and stopping at various places along the way.
i wish i had written everything down. i wish i kept a journal then like i do now. but it remains one of my favorite times with you, and i’m so glad we took that trip.
there was the long car ride, where I enjoyed talking to you so much i didn’t want to sleep. i had a lil gray pillow should i decide to do so, but we talked and talked and talked about life and love and everything else. i had just finished my freshman year of college and discovered i really didn’t know much of anything about life. you had just been through a rough time in your own life, and now i realize you were probably thinking the same thing about yourself. nonetheless, we had probably our first conversation as friends instead of parent and child.
we had no agenda. no expectations. this is how, instead of heading to the Hershey museum once we got to PA, we decided to hit up the theme park instead. i love that about you, your spontaneity. probably where i get it.
and then we got to spend a few days in new york city. i didn’t know that it would change the course of my life as i knew it, that i would fall irrevocably in love with this city and all that it embodied. i didn’t know that regular people like us could see shows on Broadway, but of course you had done your research, and surprisingly i won lottery tickets to RENT on the first try. and every morning you would head down to the bakery across the street and get us breakfast and have it waiting for me when i woke up. you have always been an early riser, and i can be a late sleeper, and i can’t imagine waiting as patiently as you did for me to get up and get going so we could explore. so you could show me the magic of new york.
and another memory, one that isn’t so happy. though i have now reconciled it in my heart, it took a while for me to stop feeling guilty.
we were walking down the street, and i was hungry, and 19, and i picked a fight with you, and in the typical teenage fashion, i whirled around and walked off.
i don’t even remember why i was mad, but i was, and i thought the best thing to do was remove myself from the situation. and now, in my wise old age of 27, i can’t fathom how you were feeling just standing there watching me walk away from you. you knew it was your job to take care of me, to shelter me, to be my father. but you let me go.
i only walked around the block once, but it took forever. i was scared that i wouldn’t be able to find you, that you would be mad, that you would have left me and i would be all alone. in new york city.
but when i rounded the corner, you were there. still standing in the same place i left you. waiting for me to return, because you knew i would.
everything was fine and we went to eat some pizza. you never brought it up again, but i never forgot.
you are a good dad, and you are becoming good friend. it hasn't always been easy, this transition from parent to friend, but we've stuck with it, and learned from our mistakes. it's good. and i will never forget that even when i walk away, or run away, you will never leave me all alone in new york city or wherever our travels may take us (to the ends of the earth).

you will let me go, but when i round the corner, you will still be standing there, waiting.


** edited to add my dad's response to this post:

What a great memory you have for details!
Some of those had slipped my mind but I can still see your face when you saw all those roller coasters [at the Hershey Theme Park].
Remember the Statue of Liberty from our window as the fog lifted?
Kate Spade.
The afternoon in Times Square when you said, "Dad. You don't understand. I have to live here someday." And I knew you would.

We've done some fun things over the years but I have never enjoyed anything more than taking that trip with you. I will always think of it as a most significant time in our life together.