Today I heard my father cry.
I’ve heard him before, but this time i didn’t feel sad or worried. I felt hollow.
The first time i heard my father cry was when i was with him in his office. He owns a restaurant, it doesn’t make a lot of money but it profits enough for us to live comfortably. Or so I thought. We were watching television as we had dinner as usual. He was in his chair when he slowly turned around, and the sniffs began. It took me a few seconds to piece the random bits of conversations between him and my grandmother, but i understood. We were running low on money. I just focused on the television not really watching the show but simply staring at the odd colors.
Maybe I should have gotten up and talk to my father, but at the moment it felt right to pretend to be oblivious to everything. If he turned around was because he was embarrassed, whether it was for crying or because he broke down in front of me. Perhaps he cried, ashamed that he couldn’t provide me with the living we had so far, maybe it was just the toll stress was taking on him, or even a mix of both. But it hurt. Hearing him cry and pretend that everything is alright. Swallowing the food while gulping down tears. Smile.
When one our parents gives in to tears we feel different. We realize that they are human too and that they feel sadness as well. We tend to forget this things because they are our role models from a young age, to see someone who has protected us for so long cry leaves and impression on us. We realize that the tables have turned, they who were there to whisper us soft nothings and pat our head when we cried, because of a scraped knee or a nightmare, now need us to do the same.
It makes us grow and understand, that they wont protect us forever. No one will. We have to protect and support each other.
This time was the second time i heard my father sniffle again. I’ve had the tendency to spend my vacations up at night, this makes me have trouble falling asleep. Since my father usually gets home only after 4 or 5 am I turn everything off by then so when he arrives and I’ve still not drifted into sleep i just close my eyes and pretend to be until it hits me.This time I heard him quickly opening the door and closing it with more strength than usual. He emptied his pockets and took his leather jacket off placing it on one of the sofas, and then silence. After a couple of minutes the sniffs began. I tried to dismiss it as him being a bit sick, but after hearing them for a while i knew he was crying again.
This time I didn’t feel like i needed to comfort him. I felt like a black hole had lodged itself in my chest. Hearing my father, who has always been there steady and standing strong for me, easily fall apart made me feel like a child all over again. For a few minutes I felt helpless and lost. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to feel. I didn’t know anything but the sound of my fathers sniffles. And how much I didn’t want them to be real.