WRITING MY WHOLE WIDE WORLD

“You can go ahead and write now,” he said, smiling at me. “Now’s the time.”

“But I feel like when I do I’m non-existent, as if nothing matters, like it’s all a waste.”

“You’re wrong, Pete. Think about what you teach others, that our feelings may not be exactly what is, other than they are our true feelings.”

The younger man stood and walked over to a window that looked out over an expanse of rolling verdant hills that seemed to stretch on forever. “It feels like I’m leaving you behind.”

“If you write?”

“If I go ahead and write, maybe do an open mic night, but especially if I write.”

“I’m the one who left you, Peter.”

“You died. You never left me.”

“Well then? What makes you think you’ll be leaving me if you go ahead and write to your heart’s content? You’re almost done with the memoir; you’ve got two novels started and the third book about working with brain injury.”

The younger man turns away from the window and looks at the soft-warm image of the older man, his father. “I don’t know, Daddy. That’s one I can’t figure out.”

“Maybe that’s why I’m here… Remember the time you ran away to Tarrytown when we lived in Nyack. You and Bobby wanted to see those girls, Jody and Noel?”

The younger man laughs. “You remember their names.”

“We have the all of our memories here. Do you remember?”

“Yes, Dad. I remember.”

“You and Bobby took the battery from Poppop’s Mercedes so you could start Pascal’s boat.”

“God. That was a shitty thing to do.”

“True. Funny as hell though. Even Poppop thought so.”

“Really?”

“Sure. He got up that morning; his car wouldn’t start, so he called the Mercedes dealer in Englewood. The dealer sends a mechanic to the house. Imagine their surprise when before Poppop could even turn the key, the mechanic had the hood up saying, “I think I know the problem, Mr. Beach.””

“You and Poppop caught us.”

“Well for God sakes, Peter, it’s kind of hard not noticing you and Bobby lugging the battery across the lawn moaning and groaning about how heavy it was.”

Father and son laugh, hug, and sit down on the couch.

“Do you remember what we talked about when you came back that time?”

“We were sitting on the couch like now. That I needed to be careful not to base all my decisions just on my emotions.”

“And what stops you from writing?”

“I’m afraid I’m leaving you behind, leaving you alone.”

“That’s emotion, don’t let that by itself be what stops you. And you’re not leaving me alone at all if you write, Peter. I am never without you. I think you fear something else even more though.”

The younger man places the palms of his hands on the back of his knees, leans forward and for a moment presses down hard on both. He then leans back into the couch and lets out a sigh, as if something in him has surrendered, or opened.

“I think you are afraid you will lose me. That if you go ahead and write, when you’re done, you’ll look up and I’ll be gone.” He reaches out and takes his son’s hand. “Peter, I would no more leave you than you would leave me. How many speeches have you given where you said you’d give up the rest of your life in a heartbeat just to hug meone more time?”

“I don’t know.”

“A lot. Don’t you think I hear you? Of course I do. I am so proud of you. I love you and I’m proud of you no matter what you do. I am especially happy for you and for myself frankly when I see you do things I know you want to do.”

“Like write.”

“Like write.”

“I love you my whole wide world, Daddy.”

“I love you my whole wide world too, Peter.”
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