Pain... When you first feel it’s unbearable, almost consuming. Then after some moments, it becomes dull, slightly bearable. Gradually, it reaches the stage when there is nothing just a throbbing sensation like a reminder of the pain.
People say time heals everything. But I say, you just become used to it.
The pain is still there, however, somewhere it becomes a part of you. The ache which at one time is overwhelming suddenly diminish to nothing, just because you learn to live with it.
Acceptance is another thing that helps you in getting over from your pain. Once you accepted it, then you snatch the power from its hand to control you. If you keep ignoring it, the pain just deepens its root into your soul and slowly starts destroying you from inside.
First, I have thought I will not tell anything to Pops. But then decided against it. Because it was not easy for me to share my mental state with him, also to talk about the drastic step which I attempted to take. But I am glad I did, after talking to him I felt so light. It was like I have taken my first step towards getting over my pain.
He very patiently listened to me, then when I was done pouring my heart, he simply walked into his room without saying anything. I knew he needed some time with himself to process everything which I have shared. We both are alike in so many ways, we both try to deal with our feelings on our own.
However, I have realized, sometimes it is better to talk with someone rather than keeping everything inside you.
The next day, he simply hugged and told me how much he loves me. Also, he told me, that if next time such thought comes to my mind I should straight away come to him and tell him. He will hang me upside down, till the time I don’t come back into my senses.
Yeah, that’s my Pops.
“It’s okay if you don’t want to come.” Pops looks at me with uncertainty while standing in the doorway.
“I don’t want to,” I say honestly, “But I have to, Pops.” I sigh tying hairband at the end of my braided hair.
Smoothing my simple black dress, I pick up the bag from my bed. Just before heading outside my bedroom, my gaze flickers to the almost empty shelve hanging in the corner of my room which was once filled with my memories.
Cutting off the engine Pops glances at me then sighing he steps outside the car. Clutching the bag tightly in my hand, I follow him.
Every year I have walked on this path numerous times, however, this time it is different as today it will be the last time.
Pops is standing a few steps away from me, giving me space which I needed, as I gather my thoughts.
“I wish you knew how much I mean these words, I wish you could see in my eyes that I am not lying. But more than anything I wish you would have been alive to witness the moment where I free you from myself.” Swallowing, my gaze falls onto the stone ahead.
A loving son, husband, and father.
“Till your last breath, you resented me. Now till my last breath, I will never be called your daughter. You never loved me, even then I can’t bring myself to hate you. I guess because I am nothing like you, I still want you to be happy wherever you are.”
“So, as my last gift to you, I free you from this relation. I free you from the curse of being my father. I may be the granddaughter of Frank Anderson, but I am sure no longer the daughter of Garret Anderson.” With each word, I can feel a numbness spreading over my heart blocking every emotion.
Kneeling down, I dig a hole in the grass with my bare hands, beside his grave. One by one, I place the memories which at one time meant a world to me, however, now they are nothing to me. The family drawing which I have drawn as a foolish child, not realizing for him I was never a part of him. The fair ticket which was both the source of my happiness and sadness. Mittens which mom has knitted for the baby he never wanted. Lastly, the picture of the woman, which he thought I took away from him.
Covering everything with the soil, I can’t stop the humorless chuckle which bubbles in my throat. It just looks like a fresh small grave, actually, it is a grave... grave of a nine-year-old girl who died within me.
Finally, I take out a black permanent paint from my bag.
“Happy Birthday, Dad!” I whisper while blackening the word father.
Pops places a hand on my shoulder, after a moment, I tear my eyes away from the blackened word. Pops’ eyes are red as he clenches his jaws.
“We should go home.” I look at the tombstone for the last time then back at Pops, as I wipe my hand with the tissue paper and pick my up bag from the ground.
Wrapping his arm, he just kisses my head, as we walk outside the cemetery.
Reaching back home, I silently sit on the couch. Pops takes a seat beside me, his eyes focused on the floor.
“Pops, is it okay to cry a little?” I ask with a quiet wavering voice, as finally, the numbness starts to dull and my heart feels it is about to burst with the pain which is replacing it.
As soon as he embraces me, uncontrollable sobs erupt through me. I try to cover my mouth with my hands to lessen my cries, but it is no use. I can feel the wetness on the top of my head where his tears are falling while he gently me rocks me his arms, allowing me to mourn.
“We will be fine, Avy... together we will be fine.” He places a gentle kiss on my head, repeating the same words which he had said to me, a few years back, “You have your Pops with you.” He rubs my back.
“I love you, Pops.” I hug him tightly allowing myself to be comforted in his fatherly warmth, which has always been the source of comfort for me.
I don’t know when I sleep in his arms, but my tired eyes slightly open when I feel being carried into my room.
Squinting, I look at him as he tucks me in bed and smooths my hair back.
“Shhh... go back to sleep. And from tomorrow no one will ever cry in this house.” He warmly smiles at me and I firmly clasp his hand in mine.
Soon sleep forces me to close my eyes while I can still sense him whispering calming words to me. Just the way he used to when I was small.