The water was cold, I took a deep breath and jumped.
“The only way to wash away your sins, is to either forget them, or become numb to them and let them go”, my father would say to me everytime we met. We met on weekends. My parents had separated when I was young. When I asked my mother why, she would say,” He’s not capable”, and that hurt me, as I enjoyed spending time with him.
We wouldn’t always have fun. ‘When it’s time to study, study’, that was his policy. “ You’re prom king material, Ayato ”, he would burst out laughing whenever he said that. He was true too. He had been the prom king during his school years. Was the school president, and everyone admired him. We’d do everything that a normal ‘ Father and son’ pair would do.
Even though he was old, he had a great personality. He gave off strict vibes, the “ Don’t mess with me” kind of vibe, yet he had a charisma. He was tall, and blonde. A bit tanned for modern “beauty standards”. I admired him. He gave me my first cigarette, and my first drink. “Better to start in the right company than the wrong.”
I still remember the last conversation we had. Sitting on a park bench under the cherry blossom tree in bloom. Pink leaves covered the area like a calico blanket. The smell of flowers in the air. In front of us was a family of four who were enjoying their picnic in a little world of their own.
“I won’t be here for long you know.”
“Why are you saying this?”
He took my hand in his, ”Because there are some things I’d like to tell you.”
“First, promise me you won’t go down the wrong path. Even you’re compelled by the situations around you to live a parallel life, don’t mix it and ruin your life. Okay?”
“Second, don’t cheat on your partner. I’ve known you long enough so I can be sure that you’re not gay. But even if you turn out to be, I have no issues. Just be happy and don’t cheat.”
“That’s awkward but it’s pretty straight forward. I will never cheat on my partner.”
“Third, if you want to go ahead in life, take risks. Start earning, once you’re old enough, get your own place. A small one at first and then grow. Forget about Neko’s opinion”
“But how? She’s my mother!”
“Oof. Have you sold your head? Communicate with her, but make your own decisions.”
“Fourth, cry. Don’t keep the anger and pain inside you. It’ll kill you from within. Like it killed me.”
“Then what’d you do?”
“I had get therapy. Tons of it. I had years of pain accumulated inside of me, but nowhere to vent. I went to a psychiatrist. It helped out a lot.”
“Lastly, make me proud, Ayato. Make me believe, that I did my best in raising my son. That my efforts were not in vain.”
“I promise, father.”
The same things were written on the piece of paper I’m holding right now. ‘Don’t hold your breath, Ayato, you’ll suffocate. Let go and breath.’
I read these lines again and again. It was the last time he’d ever be able to say something to me. Written with black ink on a piece of aged yellow paper. It’s the closes I ever felt to him. As I read it, sitting in front of his grave.
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