Afflatus

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afflatus

  1. inspiration; an impelling mental force acting form within.
  2. divine communication of knowledge.

There are things only fathers can share with their sons.

I know that now that I have little eyes watching me, little ears recording my words and even mimicking the way I say my words.

When I was younger I used to cringe when my dad would amble into the living room and park himself silently by our mammoth television set that seemed anchored to our family room floor. Inside my stomach would knot as I resisted the urge to look up, knowing his steady silence could only mean it was time for one of our “young man” talks.

My father said few words. Our talks were tortuous.

And after being blindsided by our detailed talk about the human body at age 12, I became increasingly leery of forthcoming topics.

But everything I know about being a man came from him. The behemoth of a man who said few words, wept uncontrollably at my mother’s funeral. That moment was a transfer, an afflatus in the midst of grief that will forever be seared in my memory.

I learned that men could be tough and protect their families and still have soft places inside that gushed water from your eyes when they were hit too hard.

And I can see that pattern will continue.

I laugh so you laugh and it causes me to think that every little boy should have a father love him. But I know it’s not possible, especially in my line of work. Because invariably I will do just as I’m ordered to, without remorse, without a second thought.  I will be brave; I will protect my country. And when I look through my scope and pull that thin piece of metal with my index finger, I know that another little boy’s father will not come home, because of my actions.

There are days when it weighs heavy in my soul and I wonder if I’ll ever tell you these things. About the far-flung places I’ve flown into and the things I’ve done. I’m scared it will spill out when I lay dying as an old man–this shame that is heavy and deep. But secretly I know there are some things this father will never tell his son, because this will not be your burden to carry.

 

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