by Friar James Augustine
It has become one of our most trusted routines—porch therapy. Either sipping on hot coffee waiting for the sun the rise, or having a few ‘cold ones’ in the evening as Mother Nature falls into a slumber, we enjoy it together. The hectic rat race of life stops when we sit at the metal table and chairs. The therapy includes no-holds-barred-conversation on a variety of topics: local town chat; politics, religion, world news or personal tidbits. Often times you share memories from your days and that of our departed angel. I see the look in your eyes as you speak of her. You refer to her presence even though she received her Heavenly Reward years ago. In your tales, I can sense the depth of her passing hurts as you as much as it does me. Time has not healed all wounds; they are only faded.
I know I am an unlikely companion for your porch therapy. You could have any number of people here with you; instead you are stuck with me. Growing up I may not have been the ideal shadow that you wanted. Never was I into sports, never had an interest to hunt or fish, nor never a true ladies’ man. My head was usually buried in a book—a gift that I have you and Angel to thank. I was not like the boys of your buddies; you bragged about me to them though I never heard it first- hand. You were tolerant of my introverted self; my awkwardness of mind and body. I often wonder if I ever embarrassed you by me being me. I never meant to be. I hope I never am.
Onset of maturity lead me to believe that I was my own man, I did not need you around. I embraced the times when we were apart because you had to work, or I had a school obligation. You gave me space, let me make my own decisions. You never forced me to spend time with you. Oh how foolish I was; those are precious moments missed and never to return. The conversations we could have had; the learning each of us could have experienced. Perhaps we would have been seen the man I was truly becoming before our very eyes. I was becoming more like you than even you realized or dreamt.
Life dealt us one rotten hand after another. I learned from you and Ma Mere to face adversity head on. Never turn away. Fight the good fight. Your words spoke volumes even when I could no longer hear them.
I grew up in the library, the church, and in the gym. My thirst for knowledge was unquenchable. Academic pursuits followed along with many degrees and professional success. Respected among peers and co-workers, I developed into a leader. You look at me over our chats and say you still see your little boy. The little one, always with a head in a book, developed into a man whom you brag on to all your friends—again. This time you tell me about it. You take pride in recounting your tales to me about my accomplishments on my body, my profession, and my life to your drinking buddies. You joke that I have the thickest chest, and biggest arms on the block! You have me flex for them when they show up for the occasional beer fest in the back yard. They ask for me to cook for them on their visits because you talk about my culinary skills. Your face glows with paternal pride on my academic pursuits. You even boast to them how I enjoy fine hand rolled cigars because I am refined and have learned in life to have only the best of the best. It is important to be Earnest, right dad?
“Ready for more coffee, dad?” I ask as you lift the mug savoring the last drop.
As the sun begins uprising to wake up Earth, her light shines upon your face. Your face is glowing from the Eastern Star. Each passing year, without Notre Angel, adds more years to you than Father Time. No longer are your eyes shimmering with delight and joy. I can see that fire inside of you dying down. You miss her. You miss all who have gone before you; there are so many, it is hard to fathom. Though you never speak of that time, we both know that you will soon join her in one of The Choirs of Heaven. I see it as an end of the man I adore and revere. You see it as a beginning to Joy and Happiness; no longer suffering mortal pains and perpetual loneliness. The roles have reversed; I now watch over you, trying to ensure your happiness, peace, and contentment at any cost. I forever will savor each and every moment I have with you. Until the time when there is but only one mug to fill, I will cherish each session we have together.
With a large grin “Yeah son, I’d love another mug!”
Category: Fiction, Short Story, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing, SNHU Student