February 29, 2024

Graphic by Fernanado Alvarez 

The post-freeze air bites at my cheeks as I turn to him with a nod
Racing to the entrance feels child-like, how nice
My dad and I, going to enjoy a sweet bowl of pad thai

Over the slurping of noodles we spoke of the original Blade Runner movie
I like when he’s passionate about his interests
He keeps quiet about most of them, asking about how I am instead
But he knows how I am already
I'm good, school’s good, grades are good
We had the same conversation at last week's dinner

Passion and nostalgia is what drives our best conversations
These are two emotions that are familiar, awe-inspiring
So I ask something new
“Why is the movie Blade Runner so damn good?”
Goosebumps form on my arms as I watch his eyes light up
He’s a kid for a single moment
Like me

Topics like family drama, work, or school make us age
There's never any response other than
“It’s good”

He doesn't tell me about how slow work’s been
Or that he’s completely exhausted
In return, I dont tell him how hopeless and defeating
College feels most of the time
We just say…
“Let’s talk about something else”
And sometimes we do
Other times, we sit and eat in silence
Apart from the chewing and swallowing
And muffled satisfied sounds
As the myriad of textures and flavors of our meal
Marry together with a thoughtfully selected glass of wine

Graphic by Fernanado Alvarez 

Tonight, though, is different
Tonight, we pair beer with our thai food
Because wine doesn't make sense
Tonight we talk about our favorite movies
Because work and family drama doesn't exist
Tonight the city that he raised me in is frozen over
The wind plays a tune —
White noise to a harsh reality that will soon wake
In this frozen city
With only a single local thai restaurant open in the vicinity
Of still-drivable roads
We sit inside
Leaving the outside to thaw in due time —
Connected, grounded, and present
Three feelings that became foreign to me
Over the past year

I found comfort in false confidence and overperforming for others
My only thought was how others perceived me
Only desire was that I drift completely from myself
Far enough that I could become someone else entirely
Someone perfect
But Instead, I drifted into oblivion
The only connection to my true self became my dad
His five o’clock shadow, dark bushy eyebrows and dark brown eyes
He's been the same since I was little
Since I’d sit on the kitchen counter
Waiting for him to get home
Four feet tall with a short brown bob
“Daddy’s home”

I remember when I stopped waiting
He told me he missed it
I rolled my eyes

At the table adorned with thai food
My favorite food
Sitting across from my dad
Talking about the artistry of Blade Runner 1982
I realize that I miss young me too
I miss when the most difficult part of my day was waiting for him to come home
I miss being apart of a complete family
I miss seeing my dad happy

Tonight, though, is different
The city is frozen
And it will thaw, in due time
I will miss this moment
Before I’ve had the time to appreciate it
Right now, everything is perfect
My favorite food, my favorite person, and me
Frozen in time. ■

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