Dear Father

A son writes a nostalgic letter to his father.

“Naturaleza Muerta Con Guitarra” by Antonio Berni (1926–1927)

Dear Father,

I wanted to start this letter with “How have you been?” But I already know that you haven’t been well. And I’ll spare you the chance to think about how I have been — I haven’t been well either.

I have been dreaming of coming home for quite a while now. I don’t know where exactly I got this thought from; but on lazy afternoons, I would find myself reminiscing about grandmother’s stories, or the alphonso mangoes that we would eat right after Sunday dinner. Images of a past I had forgotten started forming in my head, and I started wondering how the walls of my bedroom must have changed over the years. Paper boats I stored in the left drawer; the Colin spray bottle I used to spray myself with during the summer; the safely stored friendship bands that Siya had given me all those years back; these are the kind of things I started thinking about.

This is why I wasn’t that surprised when you wrote to tell me that mother had died.

Every time I have come back home, it has been to attend a funeral. The last time was when Aunt Meena left us. The time before that, it was to say goodbye to big brother. Before that, it was the death of the faithful amah that brought me home. The very first time had been at the funeral of grandmother, where we had all cried till there were no more tears left to cry.

And so when I started reminiscing about home and started having thoughts about coming back, I took it as a vague premonition that someone was about to die, that I would have to attend another funeral. But superstitions were never my thing — I brushed this ill omen aside, telling myself that it was just my anxiety. Then your letter arrived, and everything fell into place.

Father, more than to share your grief, I’m writing to tell you that I’m coming home — for good this time. There have been too many deaths, and now I know that God is sending me a message: He is calling me back. Before I lose you too, I must come home and redeem myself. Father, don’t worry — before you wake up tomorrow, I will have travelled down the long and winding road that leads to your door. I will have come back home.

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