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See the Shadows of Innocence and Sanity

a shadow of the day

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from alex, lunch THE ROUND TABLE
need friends, slipping away, let go
From Alex.

I try to tell myself that it is just lunch, and nothing else. 3 years of peace and healing, living away from where he could ever find me. My Baba dies, and he suddenly wants to ‘talk’ and expects me to sit and listen. He is my father, after all, and I am not to question his judgments and rulings. His word means jump. That much I can remember.

I wish I had asked someone to come with me today for moral support. I need someone today. I keep feeling myself slipping to like I was back then…. Back when my home was anything but a home, and I could not stop him. I wish I could have asked Tyler to come along with me. Or Spencer, with his anger and up front boldness. I could use that kind of strength with me today.

I start to pray, like I have not prayed in so long, just a murmur as a waitress comes by to refill my coffee. “O God, in you I have trusted; let me not be troubled forever. Out of the depths have I cried out to you, o God: God hear my voice! Would that I could run from my own past, I beseech you, let me go.” A sob hiccoughs past my lips and I wring my hands together hard against my mouth, trying to hold it all in. “I beseech you, therefore, to help your servants, those blessed with your favor. Guide me, teach me, and lead me in the path that belongs to your way. Give me the strength, o God, not to run from him. The past can only hold so much fear and power. Let me face it knowing that the body is only so substantial. Give me the power not to fall to his tricks again. In your son’s name we pray, amen.”

I keep my hands clasped together, trying to compose myself, when I feel the chill of his shadow pass over me. “Crying like the child you are, I see. How did you manage to make it so long on your own? Or was it that your precious Baba kept you afloat until now?”

“Jude.” The name still makes me shake inside, flashes bright and painful with residual memories until I cannot think over it. He is saying something to me, something I can barely make out. I blink up at him until my vision clears.

“You could ask your father to sit down. It is a courtesy, I have heard, in some countries. If that old hag had actually taught you something instead of filling your head with lies about the man who raised you.”

“She taught me respect for the dead,” I seethe, gesturing at the seat across the booth from me. He makes a show of sitting down, more noises coming from his mouth than are absolutely necessary. I wonder briefly if he has gotten older. My eyes search his face a moment, noting the grey beginning to shoot through his hair, his mustache.

“You would think you could show your father some respect. After I have had to chase you halfway around the world so I could have an adult conversation with my son. I see you have never changed.”

“Respect?” I cough, hands shaking with some emotion I try not to name as I brace them against the table. “You know goddamn well why you do not have any respect from me. 10 years of the same lies. I tried to be a good son. I tried!!” I hissed at him, heart pounding and blood rushing in my ears. “Nothing was ever good enough for you.”

Jude points a finger in my face, face red but with his expression only tightening around the edges. “Do not start this in public, boy. Let it go.”

I throw down some change on the table, and stand. “Do not follow me.” I turn to leave, and have to shake his hand off as he makes a grab at my arm. “Do not follow me, do not call me. I am not your son. You are nothing to me.” The words trail out behind me until the door closes behind me and I shut him out completely.


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