I spoke with my father today, for perhaps four and a half minutes. After a bit of courteous small talk that revolved around the weather and summer plans, he rushed to get off the phone. I’m not sure why. I didn’t ask. Perhaps he had company, an appointment or something pressing on his mind. He might have been in physical pain. As a survivor of a traumatic accident, my father has multiple health challenges. Walking is profoundly difficult. Even sitting isn’t easy for him.
I’m not sure what reason he had for getting off the phone so quickly, but I can’t say I was surprised. Our last call – about six months ago – was similarly brief. I felt so many things in those four and a half minutes. Concern about his health. Happiness at hearing the warm, deep tones of his southern drawl. Guilt over waiting so long to call. Anger that he hadn’t called either. And all the while, an anxious awareness of the awkward space between us. Continue reading “The Beauty of Abandonment”