Father’s revelation

We found a coffee shop near the hotel. My father ordered a chicken sandwich, his favorite. Mom and I ordered coffee and bagels. I was still very nostalgic at this point. I began describing how I felt as I heard Iranian music, the way the lyrics ran through my bones, hurting each part of me, bringing me to violent sobs. I tried to explain that my sense of loss for Iran was so great that even in lyrics I related myself to it. That every line, every painful sentence felt as if it were written for me.
My parents listened, and I knew my words were hard to grasp. But unlike her usual “chera?” “why?” my mother listened and said nothing.
And then my father spoke.
He opened up about the years when he was alone in America, waiting for his family, wondering when they would come to him. He hid himself in the bathroom, banged his head against the wall until he cried because like my mother, my father does not cry. It’s been 13 years since my immigration, and this is the first time my father tells me his side of the story, his loneliness, his despair.
My mother and I both tear up. My father continues to speak, and I picture him alone and sick in a country that is not his. I imagine him, and remember that he told me a similar story many years ago when my mother was gone in Iran. This is my father. He does not often share his sorrows, and here he is telling me he suffered.
We bond through this revelation, and I cherish this moment, knowing full well I may not hear this story again. I reach out and hold my father’s wrinkled, dark-veined hands. This is my father.

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