I have a special connection to a number: 8. I don’t know why, but it has always been a part of my life — but the examples aren’t important. Funny, then, that after 8 months since my dad entered Oakdale FCI, an urge to write an update rushed over me. As a reminder, he has been in prison since April 1.
After wiping my eyes of a night’s sleep a few days ago, I began pulling myself out of bed. As if to think for a moment about the day’s duties, I sat along the edge of my college-cheap mattress and zoned. A gloss formed over my eyeballs, and the locking of my elbows helped me maintain balance as my mind drifted into the future. Something was bugging me — what the hell was it? That’s right; I was supposed to send my dad a package.
The manila envelope was lying on the floor beneath my desk — that’s where the important chores wait to cue my memory (yes, like purgatory). On the front was my return address and my dad’s address: a long-winded thing, that address is; it’s almost as obscene as the thought of the prison itself. I pulled my mind back to the moment and began staring at the empty parcel; filler was next to it — articles I had written for the Oregon State newspaper during fall term, a big-time motorsports magazine with a story of mine they published in October, and a letter written by me for him. For months I procrastinated, and at this moment I began feeling an urge to act (Of course, please know that I don’t purposely dodge communication with my dad; I’m merely a busy student who started stretching myself thin weeks ago.). But the feeling alone had to wait, because higher priorities took over — now that I think about it, my priorities weren’t correct.
It wasn’t until yesterday that I said, “Today, I go to the post office.” And I did. People have the right to call me a bad son, perhaps; it is only the second time I have sent him mail. Relying on his phone call once every few weeks is easier; plus, voices are closer than printed/written words. Communication is my life, however. My email box fills with appointment reminders and story assignments and alerts from teachers, and I respond to everything. But when it comes time to talking to my dad, I struggle with it — the problem evades me.
A truth, however, does exist: I love my dad; he’s a good man, and I miss him dearly. The past 8 months have moved along at a pleasant pace; 49 months left? But it hurts, nonetheless. Opportunities for me have arisen, and he isn’t around to get my 100-percent pure excitement, because I can’t call him immediately. Such is life, though.
Prior to his first fiasco in the hotel room in August of 2009, we talked once in a while — never often, that’s for certain. I went over a year without seeing him; it’s as if I was being tested for the future (sad . . . it has worked in some ways). My mind’s muscles have grown; what was stressful no longer is; and I know that whatever I’m feeling now will only be amplified as I grow older. Experience helps any person prepare for tough roads ahead, but it can never make a person completely bulletproof to life’s shotgun effect.
I will close my 2010, as everyone else will, soon. And I’ll think of this year as one of the most trying periods of my life. Let’s get to hugging and kissing and loving, because that’s all I or my dad need, right now — that’s for damn sure.
In case I go without updating in the next few weeks, happy holidays to everyone. My dad and I love that you all read with avid frequency. I like that pressure.