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I Learned From My Father Appreciation

Joined: 3/20/2011
Posts: 20
He comes home, and he plops down on the couch, laptop poised and tapping away. He does not answer to the call of food, or the call of his child crying. There is only work to be done, and if there is no work, then it is to count the money, to tend the garden, to fix the house and to excuse himself from any vacation he was ever offered.

From his couch, I hear tapping noises. He is still writing papers, as usual.

My father is a serious man, who only spends half of his time in the house. Birthdays, anniversaries, they all bow down to the obligations of a business meeting abroad, small sacrifices.

I can overhear my mother coming downstairs, telling him to take a break, to go to sleep. He is refusing.

When I was little, my grandma would talk. She would say it in a whisper, without hesitation. "Look at him! Comes home, first thing he does is to get out that laptop! Doesn't even cook dinner!" She would shake her head and sigh, "I don't understand why you're mother ever married that man."

The printer is whirring to life. There's a lot of paper he's printing tonight.

I didn't hate my father, nor did I love him. It was as if he didn't exist, and up to this point, I never thought to ask why. I remember one of his friends asking where he was. I replied, "The usual business trip." He wanted to know where this time, and I couldn't answer. I didn't know.

My father is editing someone's paper. At least, I think. He is absorbed in his work, like it is his child instead of me, muttering about grammar. It is nearly midnight.

I muster up the courage to ask him, tiptoeing silently to avoid waking up my mom. "Why do you always work?" Behind my question are a million implications: Why do you shove us away? Why are you so cold? Why can't you be part of our family? Why?

He just grunts in reply, not comprehending my question. I apologize for disturbing him, and walk away. I almost don't catch his answer.

"I work to raise you."

When I look back, he returns to tapping away. His face is an unreadable mask, hiding beneath thick glasses. His perpetual frown, however, is improved with an almost-smile.

I think we'll have to work on that, Dad.

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