The Deep Conversation I Never Had

by Kevin Burton

   “Daddy?”

   “Grrrpha-umph.”

   “Daddy?”

   “Yes Jeanie, what do you want?”

   “I don’t want anything Daddy, how can I? I’m not here, remember?”

   “I know you’re not here, you don’t exist. Now go to sleep.”

   “What would I want daddy, if I were here, there, wherever? What would we talk about? Can you imagine? 

   Right now what I want is sleep. Please go to sleep.

  “Can’t sleep Daddy.”

   “Try. I never had children in part, so I wouldn’t have to answer all these questions. I, in fact, do not have to answer any questions.”

   “Do you miss me?”

   How can I miss you? I never had you? By definition, that, or she which never existed can not evoke..”

   “George Bernard Shaw said “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?’”

   Why not Daddy?

   “I don’t know so much about literature, you know? I can barely keep track of my fantasy football team.  But you, you don’t exist and you’re dead familiar with the works of Shaw?”

   “You’re not answering the question Daddy. You’re being evasive.”
  “Since you know so much about literature, you must also know something about recessive genes, yes? We’ve been over this.  I owe you no answers.”

   “The answers are not for me Daddy, they are for you.”

   I don’t want the answers I don’t want the questions. I want sleep.”

   “You should get the answers. You could die soon. Do you miss me?

    “Sure sweety, with cheery news like that, ‘you could die soon,’ certainly I miss you wish you were here. Tell me again, and again.  ‘Die soon,’ thanks! Since death is something you will never experience. You will never understand it. You don’t have to deal with it.”

   “I never tasted birthday cake either Daddy. Never blew out the candles…”

   “I once said I would never teach because I was afraid I would get the same grief I gave my teachers. Imagine getting from a child, the same grief I gave my parents…”

   “But you did teach Daddy, more than once. How did that work out?”

   “It wasn’t so bad.”

   “You see!”

   “Well it’s too late now Jeanie. And I am serene here in my man cave. I have a big heavy robe that my wife, your non-mother twice over, bought me. You see it? And with this robe, the untugable sleeve. No children, no tugging on sleeve. Could that be one of your literary references? The untugable sleeve, the unhugable midriff.”

   “I could have loved you.”

   “You could have hated me, turned your back on me. It’s much better this way. Now go to sleep.”

   “Can’t sleep Daddy.”

   “Daddy?

    “(sigh)”

   “I could have transformed your heart.”

    “Jesus transformed my heart.”

     “Jesus transformed your soul. He gave you a heart built for love to give to others.”

     “It’s OK, I’m going to die soon, remember?”

   “Didn’t say you are going to die soon. I said you could. This is a truth you have to live with, unless you never lived, like me.”

   “Actually Jeanie, don’t go to sleep. I don’t want you to go to sleep. Whatever you do, do not go to sleep. Just close your eyes and relax. Close your eyes, but don’t go to sleep…”

    “What about my loose teeth? Soccer practice? I could have worn your number, seven. Prom night? Wedding day? Grandchildren?”

    “I had my reasons Jeanie.  I made a choice. The dad thing is just not within me. I am not sorry about this, no apologies. More people should think twice before producing children they are not equipped to handle.”

   “God can equip you for anything.”

   “Too late. Now close your eyes.” 

   “Can’t sleep Daddy.”

   “This conversation, which of course didn’t happen, could not happen, is over…I think.”

   “Happy Father’s Day just the same Daddy. Thanks for nothing.”

   “No apologies.”

   “Hey Dad, this is Lane, the son you never had…”

   “Oh for goodness sake!

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