I can remember one time I came to school late and it was my father dropping me off. I was probably around nine or ten. He walked in the school with me. He asked me to tell him I loved him and give him a kiss. I felt extremely awkward in that we never did those things. The halls were empty, there was no one watching. After what seemed like an hour of silent awkwardness, I whispered, “I love you,” and pushed my cheek to his. He told me that that was not a kiss, that it was a hug. I had never kissed my father before in my life. I hesitated, and then kissed him on the cheek.
Another memory from my childhood is the only time I ever saw my father cry. I’m guessing I was probably close to ten years old. I was asleep in my daybed under my frilly pink comforter when I woke to a strange gulping sound. At first I couldn’t tell where it was coming from, until I decided it was coming from down the stairs. My heart was pounding in my ears as I slipped out of bed and down the stairs. I took a few deep breaths before I poked my head around the corner. On our living room couch was my father. The sounds I was hearing were the sobs coming from him. His face was soaked with tears along with streams still flowing. Shock washed over me and as quietly as possible I hurried back up the stairs. I wrapped myself in my blanket and laid there awake until the morning.