The father of my lover was dying. He had always been generous to me when I was with his son. Paying for our hotel room when we visited, picking up the tab on our dinners together. But he and I never had much personal connection or any contact outside those visits. His ex-wife once told me, “He loved being a father. He just didn’t want to be a husband”. He did question the need for any of his sons to get married and I certainly gave off “the marrying kind” scent at the time.
He was of a generation (much like my own father) that didn’t talk about the past. The past had been rough. Some of us talk too much about the past, but…it’s hard to know someone who doesn’t speak of it at all.
One day a package came for me. No card, no inscription just my name on the address label and inside a hardback book from that month’s Best Seller list. I showed it to my lover who told me, “Oh yeah, it’s from my dad.” When I asked why he shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t talk much either.
His father knew I was an aspiring writer, so it was an appropriate and lovely gift. The out-of-the-blueness took me by surprise.
Then the second book came. Then the third.
The Time Traveler’s Wife
After that, his sons gathered together around him and waited with him as he passed away. We never exchanged a word about his gifts. And when his son came back to our shared home, he never spoke about his father to me again.
Why write? I am asked that a lot. Maybe to remember. Maybe to say thank you. Or to say, I have not forgotten.