Five Fifteen

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XIII

Dad was standing on the balcony when I arrived at home to pick him up. I just came back from the hospital and I’ve been consistent on going in and out because I wanted to keep my last promise to him, that he’ll never be alone in his fight. There’s still a bit of bitterness that’s encompassing my heart but it’s nothing compared to what worry I should really be concerned about right now.

I decided to take some time off, to take time for myself to unwind together with my dad, so I decided to take him to different places. He actually never agreed to join me on this excursion of mine but I forced him to. We’ve both agreed to go on foot to the Thornhill Baptist Church but the way we walked, together yet not together, allowed awkwardness to fill in the gaps that we have as we saunter along the lining. I’m trying to slow my pace, to keep in step with him but as I do so, he also does it as well. Then after I took a few more steps, I found myself walking much farther from him, almost neglecting his presence as he walked behind me. I was worried that he might resent the idea of this whole trip if I’m diminishing his existence continually. But what can I do? I'm trying to walk elbow to elbow with him but it seemed like he's the one who doesn't want to close the gap between us. I wanted to talk to him about a lot of things but perhaps he wasn’t ready to listen to everything because he must’ve felt distant to me since I spend most of my time taking care of Tyler instead of spending more time with him, or maybe I’m the who’s just thinking that. I noticed the discomfort on his face then he tactfully walked past me. What a brat!

Going to church felt great after a very long time of not visiting it. I almost forgot the one thing that I most believed in and that actually scared me, to think that I lost track of something that I used to have faith in; but he never let us forget him does he? I mean, on the day that I brought Tyler to the hospital, I prayed to him, non-stop, I called for his help, he made me remember that I still need him even after a long time of not talking to him. A magnificent cunning way he has to make me not forget.

After walking out of the church we noticed that the sky is slowly turning from its bluest colour to ash-greyish so we decided to walk to Tim Hortons and grab ourselves some black coffee since the weather’s gonna be cold for heaven’s about to pour its chilly waters once again. On our way I asked him if he knows how to play some instruments, just a random question, then he answered, “I played the piano proficiently in my twenties. Whenever I date girls, I always bring them inside the very church we just visited then I’ll play some music to impress them.”

“How many ladies had you brought there? Two? Three?”

“You have no idea how playful I was back then. I think I brought twelve ladies there? And it was a different woman every week.” He said with great pride circling every word he just uttered.

“You scoundrel naughty bastard!”
Finally the aperture as we walk has been finally shut as we laugh talking about him and his past. He had his fun, I could tell by the way he looked as he narrated his story to me and how he made his own history memorable, at least for him.

An hour later I insisted that we go somewhere a little farther than where we have gone. I’m to take him to the beach at the Southern Provincial Park, the place where I took Tyler on our very first trip. I wanted to share more of myself to him since he’s done dishing himself out to me. So I decided to tell him the moment that I hold dearest to me, the minutiae of it, but I could only tell him if we were there exactly so I could remember how it felt, the first time Tyler and I kissed, that way I could tell him every detail and I wouldn’t make a mistake as I delineate it to him. While we were travelling down the road, the closer we got the harder I think about following the original plan because on second thought, I realized that we were out here to make me forget everything about what’s hurting me, to take time to rest my body and my mind. When he reached out for a pack of cigarettes at the back seat of the car, I turned off the radio then I said to him, “It’s getting late. And beaches aren’t supposed to be visited by this hour. I’ll take you there another time but there’s this tunnel that I want to pass by if that’s okay with you.”

He gave me a look that’s full of curiosity in it then he replied, “Sure. Just make sure that the story you’re going to tell me will be worthwhile.”

When we reached the tunnel my dad was confused if we were going out of the car because I sat there beside him, muted as I tried to find the words to tell him. I was absorbed in thought for seconds then tears found their way out on my eyes on the spur of the moment as I gathered my strength to tell him something that was beautiful and now it just turned into a piteous memory.

“I never disclosed this to you before, dad, but I was tired as I drive along this tunnel one night, I had just spent the most beautiful day I ever had and couldn’t have been more contented in my life yet here as I sat down on this very seat, holding Tyler’s face as I kiss him in the dark, I knew, exhausted as I was, that my life started here, that everything that had occurred to me erstwhile was not even a draft of prologue or a mere sketch of what’s happening to me. And now, a year later, when I pass by this tunnel, I could feel his love and passion for me, like I’m back with him and I swear nothing has changed. In the years to come I will meet a lot of new people, women, men, but I’m certain that my feelings would never be altered. I can be anywhere with anyone but my heart will never find a place like home, like Tyler.”

He then held my head close to his chest, letting my tears wash away the pain that I’ve been enduring since I got back, he gave me comfort then he uttered words that I found most striking to me yet it was the truth so I kinda felt warm inside when I heard it, “You’re right, Jack. You are young and you’ll probably meet some people but they never are watermarked inside you just like the way Tyler did. He’s the most kindhearted person that I’ve ever met yet he’s one of the reasons, or perhaps the only reason you’re hurting right now. He has shown you the real way how to live, how to have fun, how to care and most of all, he showed you the way how to love deeply and that’s only the highlights why you will never find someone better than him but that doesn’t mean that your life has to stop here and let everything will happen to you to be just another prologue, and as your father, I don’t want that for you, instead I want you to turn that empty space into a garden that’ll astonish other people who will choose to enter inside your soul.”

“I’m doing my best to escape this melancholy, dad, but I guess I’m not strong enough. They say that each day that passes by, the pain that you’re feeling will be much tolerable, but in my case, it only gets worse.”

“It’s okay love, everything takes time to heal. It’s not an overnight process. You’ll soon find your way out of it, one way or another.”

After that we were quiet. He released me from his embrace then he wiped a tear from my eyes, restraining it from falling. There was nothing to say, I knew that he didn’t want to continue this conversation because he might end up saying more words that’ll wake more sadness that’s been sleeping inside me.

By the time we came back home, as we approached the front door, we both noticed a man sitting on our porch, he looked like he spent hours waiting for us. The closer I got to him, the more he seemed familiar. It was late at night so I couldn’t tell who he was but when I finally got near to him, I realized he was the man in my dream, the one who was waiting for Tyler in front of the altar. He’s probably the guy that Tyler told me about, the “someone” that he now loves. I won’t blame him for falling to this guy because with all honesty, he’s more decent than I am and just by looking at him I already know why he loved him, there’s no doubt, this guy who’s standing in front of me is like Tyler himself, they’re no different to each other and that’s why he chose him over me.
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