This I Believe

Emily - Fair Haven, New Jersey
Entered on June 27, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, setbacks

There I was. My 5 year old body standing in the airport while grasping my stuffed dog in my hands. All of a sudden, I see a flash of a camera that blinds me. As I look up, I see pair of shoes, a Key West t-shirt, a face. Not just any face. My dad’s face. I was in Key West, Florida to visit him since that is where he lives. I jumped into his arms and cried. Little did I know, this would be the last time I would see him for 9 years. I am 14 now. I was 5 then. Memories of the time I last saw him still haunt my mind. As I was growing up, the thoughts of my dad tortured me making me cry every night. But last year, I realized something. Crying over my dad won’t bring him back.

Ever since I realized this, my life has been better than ever. I don’t cry that much. My memories of him may still haunt my mind, but it doesn’t bug me anymore. As I look back at my life, I realized it could have been a lot better if I realized this sooner. He says he is coming up in August but I’m not getting my hopes up. He has said that many times but never showed up. If I get my hopes up and he doesn’t come, it would just hurt me more than ever.

My sister on the other hand is bugged by this more than I am. She is older then me so she remembers more of him. She would sometimes have bad days and thoughts of my dad would just make her feel even worse. She always asks me if I’m ok after I talk to my dad. I always reply “Yes, I’m fine.” Just talking to him once in awhile is good enough for me.

The moment in the airport was the beginning of a fun yet hurtful week.. My grandma, my grandpa, my dad, my aunt, my uncle, and my cousins all live down in Key West. I have a whole other family down there. After the airport, my mom, my sister and I went to a little beach house that we rented for a week that was amazing. It had a pool, a Jacuzzi bath tub, and a wonderful interior. The first day we were there, my cousin, my grandma and grandpa all came to see us in the morning. My cousin, Brenda, had a gift for me and Katherine, my sister. She gave us each little sparkly batons and a Hershey bar. Then after that, we went to my dad’s house (or should I say trailer) and surprised him. We went fishing in his backyard and I almost caught a Red Snapper. Then, we walked down the street and swum in this little swimming hole. This is where one of the hurtful things that happened came in. I went to grab my dad’s hand as we were walking. I grabbed the hand that had a cigarette in it and burned my hand. He apologized and held me the whole way back to his trailer. I got a scar from that burn but it went away after awhile. Just like my feelings for my dad. After we got back, we painted coconuts. I tried to paint what my dad was painting but it didn’t come out the way I imagined it. We went back to the house after that. The next day, we went to the beach. The water was clear and blue and I could see everything at the bottom of the ocean. As I looked out to the water, I noticed that there were 2 dark spots heading towards me. As they got closer, I realized that they were sting rays. I ran out of the water as fast as my little 5 year old body could go. I got out ok but I was shaken up from it.

The next day, we went to a carnival. It was at the new high school that was designed and built by my dad and his workers. He is a construction worker and by the look of this high school, a pretty good one. As we walk in, my dad waves to some of his workers as he walks me around while holding my little hand in his giant one. The first thing I noticed got me very excited. A rock climbing wall. I have never climbed one before and I’ve always wanted to. There was a huge line, but I waited. When my turn came up after about a 20 minute wait, the lady put the harness on me. I was very nervous when I walked up to the giant wall that stood before me. Then, I started to climb. From one rock to the next, I climbed as if my life depended on it. Before I knew it, I was at the top. I was about to ring the bell, but my little arm could not reach it. The lady below me said to let go. I looked down. Not the best idea. I got so scared. I held the wall so hard that it hurt my hands. Then, I heard my dad scream up to me, “Don’t worry. She has you on the rope. If you fall, I will catch you.” I trusted my dad more than I trusted the lady. Finally, I let go. I finally got to the bottom and I was glad. My dad said to me, “You looked like a spider when you were climbing up that wall. You got up there so fast!” We finally went back to his trailer. Ever since that day, I have been very interested in climbing. Whether it’s a rock climbing wall or a tree. I love climbing. I had a great time those two days even though it hurt me at one point.

He was my idol back then. I always wanted to do what he did and I always wanted to be with him even though I knew it wasn’t possible. That’s why I was always upset about my father because he was my idol and I couldn’t be with him. But now I realized that he hasn’t tried to come up here so why should I idolize him? 9 years it has been since I last saw him and he still hasn’t tried to come up here once. Whatever, Dad. You aren’t even trying so I’m not going to get upset over you anymore. Crying over something that happened in the past wont change what happened. It’ll just make you feel worse. I don’t cry over him anymore, I learned from this experience and used what I learned to help myself in the future. I believe in looking towards the future and moving on from things that happened in the past. I don’t let those things bring me down, and I think you should try this too. I believe in many things, but this I believe the most.