I Wanted You To Be There

30 Nov

I wanted you to be there. I wanted to spend my summer going to every coffee shop near our houses. I wanted to talk loudly about politics, and religion, annoying all the old people around us. I wanted you to watch the fireworks with me on the Fourth of July, and I wanted to hear your rant about the decline of America. I wanted you to meet my freshman history teacher. I wanted you laugh at his jokes that weren’t funny, and argue with him about the building of the Panama Canal. I wanted to go to the football games with you, so that we could ignore every other person in our high school. I wanted to tell you about why Catholic School’s Week made me angry, and I wanted you to listen. I wanted to hold your hand when your grandpa died, and tell you that everything would be okay. I wanted to deal with all your crazy mood swings, and I wanted to be the only person that would listen to you when you were angry.

I wanted you to be there. I wanted you to hear my list of reasons why I felt the need to go all the way to the west coast to get a college education. I wanted you to fight this because you loved me, and yet somehow simultaneously understand. I wanted you to call me every night for months, and I wanted to spend all the money that I got from Christmas and my part time job on a plane ticket just so that I could see you. I wanted to see you to be the maid of honor in my wedding, and smile at the person who I was marrying. I wanted you to approve. I wanted you to live the life you dreamed of, and I wanted you to be happier than you ever believed you would be. I wanted to force my children to write sappy thank-you notes for all the things you bought them, and I wanted you to come over to my house at Christmas-time when we were both middle-aged, and get drunk in my basement just like you said we would.

I wanted you to be there. I wanted to hear every song you ever loved, and I wanted to play them backwards and forwards while I watched that joy and pain that surges through your eyes. I wanted to listen to your hopes and dreams, and I wanted to tell you how you changed me, even though I never said a thing. I wanted you to listen to the things I said- really listen- and see if you could maybe understand. I wanted you to be there forever. I wanted to have petty fights, but then always make up, just like in The Dick Van Dyke Show. I wanted to make our lunch in a cute little house while you played Mozart on the piano in the living room.

I wanted you to be there, but you weren’t. You aren’t. You never will be. You never promised me that you would be either. You couldn’t give me all the things I wanted, just like I couldn’t give you all the things you wanted. You did give me something, though. You told me that it would be okay, you promised me that someday, somebody would understand, and you hugged my shaking body at the moment when I felt most alone. It doesn’t mean that you were there. Or that you are. Or that you will be. But it still means that you gave me what you could, and for that I will love you always.

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