Charlie, A Boy, A Man, My Dad

silhouette of a man during sunset

( Intermediate Level )

Author’s note: “Those who follow me know my writing is completely fiction derived from life circumstances. Today’s story is true and dedicated to my father who passed less than a week ago. The raw emotions that well up inside you at that moment are sometimes difficult to express. I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you, my readers.”

As my dad walks towards his final resting place, those of us left behind mourn his passing. I reflect on the moments we shared together…

Those heated arguments I had with him as a teenager. I know he wanted the best for me but at the time, I felt he was unfair.

I reflect on the many times I laughed at him when his temper got the best of him. When he saw I was laughing at him it made him even madder…

Great memories!

But most of all, I think of those three tiny words I should have said more often, “Ï love you, Dad.”

My mom said , “He knew.” Still, there isn’t a reason why I hadn’t said it more often.

I told myself over and over again that I wouldn’t grow up to be like my dad. Guess what?

I did.”

I hear myself saying words that he said to me saying them to others. I take a step back and gasp, “Oh, I sound just like my dad!

I was told I was just like him in many ways but truth be told I didn’t believe it. I thought everyone was crazy until I got older…

Yes, I am just like my father.

A great portion of his life was spent in a group home. His life was filled with many obstacles that any young person shouldn’t have to experience.

He kept private, in these matters so honestly, I do not know much about his past. Maybe it was his way of protecting the ones around him, or not wanting sympathy, or it was a way to forget the past…

I will never know. Maybe I should have asked more questions.

When my mom told me he wanted comfort care only, I said, “He needed to fight. Tell him! Tell him to fight! He shouldn’t give up!”

I swore. It was my only response to him saying this .Of course, my mom told my dad I said, “$*#^(@@$&,” and she could see him smile behind the oxygen mask.

Once I was told of his choice of comfort care only he left this world within hours.. It was as if he wanted me to know and somehow be ok with it.

How unfair was it of me to ask such a thing? Ask him not to give up. Just for me. Because I wasn’t ready. Ready for him to go.”

He didn’t want machines keeping his body going. He somehow found peace by wanting to leave this world. He wanted his dignity and to go without suffering.

He did just this. He is at peace now and will be missed…

“I love you.”

Written By: Angel

Thoughts From Angel:

In loving memory of my father,

Until we meet again……

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Vocabulary:

mourn – verb: feeling of deep sadness or sorrow

reflect – verb: think deeply or carefully

heated – adjective: conviction

truth be told – idiom: truth or real facts spoken

obstacles noun: blocks or blocks or hinders progress

sympathy – noun: sharing feelings of sadness

comfort care – noun:  a form of medical care that focuses on relieving symptoms and optimizing comfort 

unfair – adjective: unreasonable

dignity -noun: sense of pride

suffering – noun: pain or distress

Question ( s ):

No questions this week. Just a time to reflect……..Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share my thoughts.

Homeless

( Intermediate Level )

Each day fades into the next for Benjamin. He lives on the streets and calls the sidewalk his bed. People pass him every day and do not give him a second look as if he is a bad person.

If only they knew him in his past. People would not be so easy to judge him. He keeps his eyes lowered and minds his own business. Trying to survive day to day.

Benjamin, once, was a very successful businessman. He had worked in the downtown business district in New York. Now, he shares the streets with so many other homeless people.

He had a loving wife, Anne, and a beautiful eight year old daughter, Katie, until that tragic day six years ago. A day he wished he could rewind and do it all over again.

He remembers that day as if it was yesterday. He woke up late and had a early business meeting. He was rushing around getting dressed when his wife called up the stairs and said , “Breakfast is ready.”

He immediately yelled back, “No time. I have a meeting and I am running late.” He ran downstairs and grabbed his suitcase.

He looked at his wife who was holding a cup of coffee for him. He shook his head and said, “I will get coffee at the office.” He smiled at his daughter and rushed out the door.

His daughter looked at his wife, with a sad face, and said, “Daddy didn’t say I love you to me.” Anne quickly responded, ” He forgot me, too, but daddy is running late for a special meeting. I know he loves you and he would want you to have a good day at school.”

Katie smiled and continued eating her breakfast. Anne gathered Katie’s homework and stuffed it into Anne’s backpack. ” Come on kiddo, finish up so you can be ready when the bus comes. We don’t want you to be like daddy and run late.

Anne ran upstairs to get her shoes from the bedroom. She would always walk her daughter to the bus stop. Katie quickly followed her up the stairs. She wanted mom to put her hair up in a ponytail.

In the rush of the morning, Anne had forgot to turn off the burner on the stove and take the skillet off the burner. She had made bacon and eggs for breakfast. The pan was too hot to move and she simply forgot to turn off the burner. Her husband had come downstairs just at the moment she had finished cooking the bacon.

As Anne was brushing Katie’s hair up into a ponytail , she looked at her watch and said, “The bus will be here in less than five minutes.

These were Anne’s last words. The hot grease, from the skillet, had started a fire and an explosion soon followed. In a matter of a few moments the house was engulfed in flames.

This was the day that Benjamin’s life had changed completely. He was given word that his wife and daughter had perished in the fire. He lost everything. His life spiraled downward to a bottomless pit of sorrow.

If only he took a few minutes more to sit down and have a few bites of breakfast with his wife and daughter. He may have realized the burner was left on. He took full blame for their deaths. He shouldn’t had been in such a hurry that morning.

He was unable to concentrate at work. His company was sympathetic for a long time following that day but they had to eventually let him go. He had lived at a hotel since the fire but without work and no money he had to find other means to sleep.

In deep state of depression he couldn’t find work. It felt as if he stopped living when he lost his wife and little girl. This is how Benjamin ended up homeless. This was his story.

The people who walked passed him on a daily basis didn’t know his story. If they could, they would avoid him completely. They would cross the street to reach the other side, in order not to have contact with him.

In some ways Benjamin felt he deserved this. Other times, he felt he shouldn’t be judged so quickly. This is human nature, he guessed. You assume before you know the story.

One late autumn evening, he had found a spot to settle down for the night. He tried to give himself a little variety where he would sleep each night. He usually found an area out of the way of heavy pedestrian traffic but close enough to people where he felt safe.

Sometimes people would drop off a few non-perishable food packages or bring him a sandwich and a hot cup of coffee. Whatever he received he was ever so grateful for. He still had his dignity about him. He never wanted to beg. He felt others needed before him and he didn’t deserve.

Benjamin was drifting off to sleep when he felt as if someone was watching him. He looked up and seen a small framed woman around thirty years old standing over him. She said, ” So mister, you want to tell me your name?” .

There was a street light behind her and as he looked up. It was difficult to make out her face. He said. “Benjamin ma’am.” She bent down and said, “Well Benjamin, my name is Annabel but you can call me Ann.” She reached her hand out for a handshake.

Benjamin just stared up at her. He had not heard that name in a long, long time. His mind drifted back to memories of the past until she began to talk again. “I believe everyone deserves a second chance and I am needing workers for my printing factory.”

I am not asking for free labor, you will be paid. Nor am I asking for hard labor. I need a few good hires to supervise the machines, as they print, and keep watch of the place at night. Are you interested?”

Without thinking, Benjamin’s answer was, “Yes, ma’am.” He had sat up by now and saw Ann’s face. She had a warm smile and beautiful chocolate – colored eyes. Just like his Anne.

“Alright then Mister Benjamin. I will be back tomorrow early in the morning. You will not need to worry about anything. You will have simple accommodations at the factory where you can sleep and cook. Nothing fancy but you will stay warm. Once you get on your feet you can make other arrangements to where you want to sleep.”

She turned and glanced back at him before she walked away, “See you tomorrow at seven in the morning. We can discuss all the details on our way to the factory.” She had turned the corner and disappeared.

Benjamin sat there just staring down the street where she had disappeared. He thought to himself, “Out of all the places I decided to hunker down for the night, he had picked this particular spot. What were the odds? Maybe this was the break he was needing. Maybe, this Miss Annabel was sent by Anne to turn his life around.”

Written by: Angel

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Follow me on:

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Vocabulary:

fades – verb: disappear

judge – verb: opinion or conclusion

district – noun: area of a city

rewind – verb: back to the beginning

ponytail – noun: a hairstyle

engulfed -verb: sweep over something, surround or cover

perished – verb: sudden death

spiraled – verb: continuous and dramatic increase

sorrow – noun: a feeling of deep distress caused by loss

sympathetic – adjective: feeling sympathy

assume – verb: without proof

variety – noun: state of being different 

pedestrian – noun: person or people walking along a road or street 

grateful – adjective: showing an appreciation of kindness

dignity – noun: worthy of honor or respect

hiresnoun: one who is hired

supervise – verb: observe or watch

accommodations – noun: temporary lodgings

on your feet – phrasal verb: well enough

glanced – verb: quick look

hunker down – phrasal verb: stay in one place

particular – adjective: special

Question(s):

Are you quick to judge people by first impressions?

Are there many homeless in your city?

Do you believe people deserve a second chance?