23 June, 2001

My Father

[The following is in a series of entries (dated from 24 May 2001 through 3 November 2001) written as part of a 'dual-diary', along with one of my early girlfriends. Due to its nature as a dual diary, the text might not reflect my true feelings at the time.]

Often when I tell people about my father, they tell me that they are sorry, or that they would have hated a father like mine. Even my own father is fond of the phrase "I know I haven't been a good father to you..." And my mother often tells me bad things about my father; for example, I mentioned to her that I'd be getting another car through my dad in August, and her response was that if my dad charged me too much or anything to tell her about it.

No one particularly likes my father, I suppose. He wasn't a particularly good father in some ways; I'll grant that, of course. He wasn't the type to ever go out and do things with me, nor was he the type to talk to me about much of anything in particular. He was somewhat strict, and he was very physical. Had I been another person, perhaps it would have scarred them, but for me, it was the perfect way to be raised.

From my father, I learned discipline. I learned that my intelligence would never be enough to allow me to succeed in this world. I learned a good work ethic, and an intense drive to do more than everyone else. I learned to not be satisfied with life as it is, and to forever achieve higher and greater things. I learned how to be a leader, how to drive a sale, and how to be a good speaker. From my father, I learned whom I am today.

I have this recurring dream that happens every so often (how often I cannot remember) where I (and a friend) am running from something and I use some type of mechanism (involving a floating type object above me) to allow myself to be able to jump a higher than normal distance. Eventually in my chase I come to a wall that I can pass but my pursuer cannot. While they are figuring out a way to get around this obstacle, I struggle to go even further, which at first seems impossible. But then I talk to a person there that tells me of a door that we're really not supposed to go through, but I open it anyway because of the intense rush I am in to get away from the person who's chasing me.

The doorway takes me (and my friend) to a whole new place, and the first thing I do is try my best to keep my pursuer from getting through the door to this place as well. We hold the door for as long as possible, then my friend's basketball drops from his backpack on accident, and it rolls to a passerby in this big but dull and old looking hallway. The man turns to us for a second with a snarled look on his face, then he stomps on the basketball so hard that it starts to deflate. He scowls once more for good measure, then he kicks the ball to the other end of the hallway.

My friend looks at me, and we both silently agree that here we won't find any new friends. Then he motions towards the now-deflated basketball, and I look to see that it rolled to a stop right on the foot of this huge guy with a deformed face and a hand that looks to be made of metal, or at least a metal glove of some sort. He walks up to us with the most evil and menacing face I've ever seen, and at just that moment, my friend pleads out "All we want is to just get out through this door!", which of course is a blatant lie, but he doesn't know that. Anyway, this huge guy slams his fist into side of the door, halfway hitting the wall beside it, and somehow the two fuse together, making it all but impossible for our pursuer to ever get through this door, but at the same time making impossible for us to leave whenever we might choose.

So we start exploring. The first room, right across from the door we entered from in the hallway, is an arcade. For some reason, neither I nor my friend has ever seen anything quite like it before, despite it being fairly normal for an arcade. My friend starts playing some game, while I go over the tokens that seem to have mysteriously appeared in our purses. We have six each, and they seem a little bulky for their use, but otherwise look okay. The writing on them describes a government that we have have for some reason never heard of, but now that I think back on it, I am pretty sure it described something very similar to what the United States government has in place.

After finally convincing my friend to leave with me, we take a left in the hallway and where there used to be a bustling center of some kind, reminding me of perhaps a bus or train station, now the hallway extends out onto a pier. As I get closer to the pier, I notice that ahead and to my right looks very familiar, despite it just being a corner that I will eventually look around once I walk up to it. Before turning the corner, I stop to reflect about how I feel. Perhaps I have this feeling of déjà vu because there is danger past this corner? But no, it is simply because I have dreamed this dream so often and this part is the part that I will never forget, even whilst dreaming another dream.

I hear a phone ring beyond the corner, and it all comes back to me. Slowly, I turn to look and I see a small store owned by a man with thick black hair. He is sitting at a desk behind the counter, and you can tell just by looking at the place that this guy sleeps there as well as works there. On the walls of the store are records and LPs, some one-of-a-kind (or rather would be if he were in the era of CDs and DVDs), and other things are fairly strewn about the store, all available to be bought. There are guitars and drums and books and even knick-knacks all over the place.

He turns to pick up the ringing phone, and I can finally see his face. And I am sure, absolutely positive, that this man is my father, back in the days before I had ever met him. "Hello?" he answers, a bit timidly, certainly not the way you should answer a business phone. But it is not a customer on the other end. It is his mother.

In awe, I lean back to listen to his conversation, not knowing what he might say. And as I listen, my heart fills with a sad happiness. I am very much a family-oriented person, but never in my life have I ever met my grandmother on my father's side, my abuela. And so as I listen, I start to cry involuntarily. Thankfully, I do not get a chance to cry more than a few tears, though, as I notice a couple of people with a lot of fancy photography equipment approaching the pier.

I try to block them out, as I want to listen to my father in his youth like this for a longer time, but it becomes obvious that they are here to take his picture, and my curiosity overwhelms me, so I approach them.

It turns out that they are here to sell pictures, and my father is a really good customer. They show me a few pictures they took of his girlfriend, and ask since I'm a friend of this man's, would I like to buy a framed picture of this woman? I'm not sure why, but I agree, and I watch as the other man starts taking pictures of my father. My dad turns to look at them with a smile, though it looks slightly forced. He seems to be friends with them, but it also seems that they annoy him a bit too much and come by a little too often for his tastes. Nonetheless, he motions that he will be with them in but a moment, and my father returns to speaking to his mother on the telephone. I feel a twang of guilt about being seen with these photography people as the first time my father has ever seen me.

[The rest of this entry is lost due to data corruption. Let this be a lesson to always back up your important files.]