Born Standing Up

I was alone with him the bedroom; his mind was alert but his body was failing. He said, almost buoyantly, “I’m ready now.” I sat on the edge of the bed, and another silence fell over us. Then he said, “I wish I could cry. I wish I could cry.”

At first I took this as a comment on his condition, but I am forever thankful that I pushed on. “What do you want to cry about?” I said.

“For all the love I received and couldn’t return.”

I felt a chill of familiarity. There was another lengthy silence as we looked into each other’s eyes. At last he said, “You did everything I wanted to do.”

“I did it for you.” I said. Then we wept for the lost years. I was glad I didn’t say the more complicated truth. “I did it because of you.” [Editor’s emphasis]

You know Steve, actually, you are not exactly correct.  It’s even more complicated.  You did it because of your father — and you.  It’s called Character and Temperament.

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