This blueberry beer tastes like camaraderie, like the liquid will seep in and fill the holes in our conversation–like how the cold Atlantic waves filled in the space between the rocks scattered across the craggy New Hampshire beach we walked along this morning. Tonight, this bar feels like neutral territory, miles away from our separate homes and lives. It’s common ground, like traveling is for us, like dreaming and scheming and planning, researching restaurants and historical sites to visit. This is where we overlap in personality, the thing closest to our matching blue eyes that show strangers we’re related.
I had hoped out here on the coast, so far away from my busy city and life, I would be able to spend time looking at the stars. I had hoped in the pure darkness hovering above the beach, I could find some clarity. But you can’t look for answers in the darkness; that’s where you hide them. We spent more time in the car than on the beach this trip. I wanted to unplug from the noise of my life back home and find time to talk to you, really talk beyond the chatter of how’s your week. Instead we find ourselves sitting side-by-side in a local tavern, eyes glued to the TV as we watch the NBA Finals.
We make small talk about the beer, the bar, and basketball, not a conversation as much as a commentary. The darkness that hangs outside the window like a curtain is the same as that found inside me. It is so thick you can’t see the stars. All I wanted was to look at the stars out here. All I want is for you to see me. I want you to adjust your eyes to the darkness until you can pinpoint the light inside me, my truth.
We have been through so much these last couple of years. I want to thank you for each time I came to you in pieces and you reassembled me. We don’t always say everything we want to out loud. Sometimes it is enough to sit beside you. Maybe in here I’ll be the son you no longer have, and together we will find the words to weave a new family history. Every day that passes he is farther from us, and I am closer to myself. I am grown up, though still your little girl every time we’re together.
I want to be your little girl and your surrogate son and someone who makes you proud and someone who challenges you and someone you don’t always understand, but you love regardless of our differences. I’m not the daughter you expected me to be, I think we both know that. I want you to continue to be the father who evolves with me, the one who loves me so much he vegan bakes for me, the one who got a tattoo with me. I want us now to shock us from ten years ago. Those old versions of us had it so easy; they hadn’t suffered extreme loss. But the old us hadn’t experienced truth either.
Thank you, Dad, not only for letting me grow up, but for growing with me.