It came to me like a ghost in the night ever so quietly. I lay there sleeping in the warmth of an ancient, old bed that had been passed down through the years in our family. It was a memory one that had been tucked away in the recesses of my mind. A memory I vowed never to forget, but somewhere through the passage of time it had faded, like so many other things I promised in my youth to remember forever. Why then this sudden resurgence of a long lost thought.
It was partially my son`s fault. It was knocked loose in the way that children have of doing with their innocence. He asked, “Dad, let`s go fishing.” There was a time in my life; back when we were both young, he and I enjoyed the company of one another. Back in the days when time was a precious commodity. I looked at him with eyes that said “all right” but a heart that said I was tired.
Being a teenager of sixteen living in the nineties, he could not be fooled so easily and he said, “But if you`re tired I could call a friend.” Then I said with a heavy heart, “Yeah, go ahead,” minutes later I wanted to stop him and say, “Wait, I want to come with you.” But I stood there frozen in time until the taillights were nothing but a distance memory. I wanted nothing more in life than to stop him not only from driving away but from growing up as well.
I wanted him young again and to be the most important thing in his life, but I could not, for time stops for no man or child. I stood there alone and thought, “in twenty-four months when he turns eighteen he will no longer be a child, but a man, and my chances will even be slimmer that he will ever ask me to go fishing again.
Just that suddenly I thought I herd laughter in the distance. I looked towards the yard and saw the ghost of a father and son playing ball, and tag, training the dog together. They were laughing and smiling, and sharing a moment in life that may never be again. That night as I went to bed there was no sweet dreams or visions of sugarplums that danced in my head. Instead there was a ghost of long times forgotten that I called yesterday, it bought with him a vision of a young boy in his teens vowing to himself that things were going to be different when he himself was a man. Then without warning the vision turned and the face I saw staring back was me. I was shocked, stunned then saddened at the thought of history, my history repeating itself. Was I too late? Had I become the man I vowed never to be?
In the early pre-hours of dawn, a time when the darkness is bought to life by the sweet chanting voice of a robin, I awoke my son from a sleep so peaceful and quiet and undauntedly asked the question, “Hey, do you want to go fishing?” With his head full of cobwebs he said, “No, I am tired.” I then let him drift back to dreamland and said, “That`s all right; we will go later,” and later we did. In mid-morning on a Saturday we did something centuries old that for as long as fathers and sons exist there will be a “Time Called Together.”
Once the truck was loaded that morning we were on our way. Headed on a journey, not to just go fishing but to find something we had lost some-where through the years of growing up. There was a silence that morning that could only be understood between two souls searching for a way to find themselves again. How did we become so disconnected?
At one time we were a father and son who spent every waking hour together. Now in the span of three or four years something had come between us, a menace in our society called growing old. And how the two of us faced this menace would determine our connection to one another forever.
As we neared the lake, the silence was broken by my son, “I hope they`re biting.” I smiled back with a smile of reassurance that my thoughts were the same. As we pulled along the lake, I got out and admired the sheer beauty of the moment. The lake was smooth as glass; a breeze gently blowing through the trees was calling an invitation to a father and son who were lost in the world rushing by them.
The first cast of the morning was elegant and sleek as the ultra thin line floated like a cobweb in the misty morning air and glided softly on the mirrored lake. We fished for hours that morning. Many strikes were felt and many fish were caught. What kind and exactly how many I can`t recall. What I do recall were the words spoken between a father and son. I remember the laughter and tears shared between two souls who cried out in the misty morning air for one another. By the time our fishing excursion was done, we had connected again. Like two broken wires that had been severed we were spliced and woven back together by common interest and love for one another. We were as one, but we were also different and that`s the way it should be.
That night, as we headed home down the dusty graveled road, a thought came to me that yes, time marches on for all of us. Then as I glanced over to my son and saw a child who use to be, I realized that a boy was disappearing from my sight forever. But in his place was growing a man I was proud to call my son
Published in Desiboyzmasala