I always used to be the last one left sitting at my in-laws’ dining room table after meals. It would be just my father-in-law and me. He’d be talking, and I’d be listening. Everyone else would’ve gone (some with eye rolls), but I would stay put and hang on his every word.
A couple of times I tried to share something about me, or my kids – his grandchildren. But he didn’t want to hear the mundane details of our lives. We weren’t “interesting” enough to him, I suppose, which is a guiding principle in his life.
Caught in the thorny bramble of his endless thoughts, he only sought a constant audience in the warm body seated before him: me.
It took me years to recognize why I sat there, sole witness to his droning monologues. I desperately wanted an active, loving father figure in my life, and I wanted him to be it.
The thing is, he never applied for the job, and I never directly asked him to fill it.
Releasing my dreams and hopes for a dad has been a process, but I’m willing to let both him – and my fantasies – go.
I’m willing to allow him to be himself – warts and all – and to free myself from this yearning. Because you see, I had a lot of energy tied up in it. Energy that’s now more available to me for living.
So now he sits, still droning endlessly on, at the head of his table. He is like a king, with others who choose to sit and keep his court, for their own reasons.
Others – while I am off living and writing.
Others, but not me.