epi_creates: starbux reunion (i made it all up)
Because I didn’t know her story, I wrote one.
They met in a Starbucks overlooking Chinatown in downtown DC. I watched them out of the corner of my eye. Observed their shared but internal battle: hug or handshake or hug or handshake or… His hand collided with her stomach when she ignored his outstretched palm. He wanted a shake, he wanted a hug. (And then I couldn’t turn away.)
She loved him, and he loved her, I’m sure. Why else would their movements be so awkward, why else would she move in to hug him with an easy familiarity we reserve only for strangers we’ve spent our whole lives imagining? And what about him, and his cautious handshake? Well, everyone fears rejection. Better to thrust out a hand, better to be safe. (I wonder now if that’s how they ended up here. He thought it’d better to be safe. She suffered.)
After he freed his arm and hugged her back, they both changed. She smiled for the first time. He breathed, deflated & inflated simultaneously. Color returned, shoulders lowered, eyes raised, words were spoken. Watching tension ease, I think it might be possible that some people perish from stress.
They aren’t lovers, past or future, not in my story, anyway. Perhaps, father & daughter, gathering in a public place, which makes me wonder how they became un-together anyway. Did he leave her mother? But the way he looks at her… did her mother hide her burgeoning stomach from the man she didn’t feel would be good enough to raise her, even though he was good enough to create her? Shouldn’t life be more sacred than that? Aren’t we worth more than heat and sweat and looks and locked lips (even if that is all it takes to create us)?
We write ourselves into strangers’ words and movements.
An older light-skinned gentleman of short stature, he would’ve been beautiful and hated (for everything he is and isn’t) twenty or thirty years ago. Now, he seems lost between distinguished & indistinguishable. (While he could easily be a man who eats poached eggs with strong black coffee and a copy of the Wall Street Journal, his voice reminds me of cousins I’ve had named “Boo” & “Tiny”: a rough edged vernacular that could easily rub the wrong person the wrong way, but too high-pitched to actually be tough.) I wonder where he’s been all these years, but am sure that it doesn’t matter nearly as much as that he’s here. I wonder if her mother knows.
Remember, I’m making this all up. Pretend that I’m not. Pretend that it’s real. Pretend that this man really is attempting to connect with his beautiful daughter, exchanging stories and war tales, and fulfilling the only unfulfilled dream she’s ever had. I don’t know why I said that, except that she seems like the kind of girl whose luck never runs out. Of course she is. Why else could she do what none of us (other un-fathered daughters) could do: take what she needs, give him what he needs. Forgive in less than five seconds. Forgive, and let it end there. Take the past and leave it there. Take that hug, the disregarded outstretched hand, and let it begin there.
I made it all up, you know. I made it most of it, some of it, up.