Category: Uncategorized

Translating my dad’s language

“I love you,”

My dad’s mouth struggles to say it.

Not from ailment or illness.

He learned love as a parent loving you enough to withhold, insult, isolate.

“I love you, and so I make you better in informing you how useless you currently are.”

I wonder how many times he translated “selfish” to “potential” or “worthless” to “worthy”, only that I never want my loved ones to translate everything I tell them.

That’s the thing about being an adult with a living parent, we notice the ghosts that haunted them throughout our childhoods. Parent melt from horrible to human.

He is sixty-five now, and age has softened the harsh corners of his language. He calls he every Sunday, and if he doesn’t say it, I say it first.

“I love you.” my mouth, an operatic megaphone to those words. “I love you. I see you. I’m proud of you”. I say them to him, the words my dad longed to hear from his dad.


I didn’t know it at the time.

That the pauses were teachers, too.

The delays were never denials, just deferrments,

A snooze button on my Veruka Salt screams, “I want it now”.

Even in the interim, the universe carries me somewhere.

I am a backseat driver while the universe is at the wheel, and I don’t know the terrain we’re traversing,

But she does. She hears my shouts for premature turns, unsuspecting pit stops.

She laughs,

“You are headed somewhere grand, sweet girl. Just give it time.”