You have been gone so long, I thought we would never meet again on this planet. Seeing you yesterday was certainly a surprise.
There you were in the darkness of that little building that houses the baseball announcer, everything so strangely alive around you. Just outside were the muffled sounds of the game, people cheering, bats clinking, and the call of the ump. Unknowingly, they had come to you, a magnificent picture of youth.
Your team was undefeated in your senior year? You never told me that. I looked at your teammates’ faces. They held all trademarks of youth, sheepish, silly, happy, unknowing.
And then there was you. Cocksure eyes. Gunslinger posture. You were never afraid to step up to the plate, were you?
I had just walked down a long running track. So many footprints. New footprints covering old ones. Old ones covering older ones. Mine were there, I am sure, buried by 30 years’ passing, but there nonetheless.
How long had it been since you made footprints? Twenty three years? You have been gone that long?
And suddenly you had returned to me. Here I was looking at you and me, an old man, slightly older than your father would have been had he come to see you play in that perfect season.
Did he come to see you play?
He should have, and shame on him if he didn’t.
I would have come to see you, had I been your father.
And the old question returns from my childhood. Why did you not come to see me play? Why weren’t you a better father?
Here I am a man looking at a picture of a boy and wondering why he didn’t become a different man.
It seems I would be more forgiving.
After all, you have been reduced to dust and memories. You are the past now. You have done your best and your worst. And you, a man in whom I saw god-like qualities, you are no more perfect, no more permanent than the paper used to print your picture. It is now blurred and blurring more.
Maybe I can fix it.