Pick Up the Pen
When my father—a writer who never finished a single book he wrote
(don’t we all have at least one such story?)
—was dying, his tongue half gone in an attempt to prolong his more than average life
(perhaps only as the sun would count, if it
I asked if he could pick up his pen one last time
and write letters to us four kids.
If he did such a thing, we would never know.
All his words of love and regret and pain, along with an infinite pool of ‘I wishes’, would stay deep within him until the very quiet end.
Perhaps he never could find the right turns of phrase. Perhaps the words got stuck so deep within that he couldn’t fathom their extraction. Perhaps his entire life had been a fruitless search to put to ink sentiments so far beyond prose that he felt he had to remain silent in order to remain honest. Or perhaps he penned all four, and then buried them unread, exactly as we would bury him some weeks later.
So many maybes, so little ink.
So I pen him. I pen his pain. I pen the pleasure he never let himself express. I pen the love he bottled up until it exploded like acid. I pen his unsung longing for God.
I pen for him, the him that couldn’t find words when they could have made all the difference. I pen the love I know he carried in each of his unuttered musings, in each of his violent outbursts.
I pen the perfectly imperfect love of a father for his child, and the imperfectly perfect love of the child for her pen-less father.
I pick up the pen.