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Lions Roar : July 2015
was the large television. Off, silent, tempting. It would be easy to whisk us away from this place. I felt the pull of the remote control; its oblong rectangular shape touched the back of my bare heel. “I do have a dad.” But the expression on his face—that forth- right inquisitiveness, the presumption he makes that when he asks, he will receive the truth—kept me prone. “Where is he?” “He lives in Thailand. I used to live there once, remember? It’s close to Burma.” Another chance to deviate from the scarred heart of the matter, remind him of my books about that country, the photo- graphs in our house, so full of Burma. “Far away from here.” “But...do you talk to him?” His mind leapt. I swear I saw it, the change in his face, eyes absorbing the new thought like light. “Why haven’t I ever talked to him?” My own eyes filled. “He wasn’t a very nice man when I was growing up. He’s probably different now. More gentle. He’s not a bad man, but we aren’t very close. I haven’t talked to him for a long time.” “Does he know about me?” “He does. I think he would love you if he ever met you.” “Well, I wanna meet him. Is he old?” Is he old? I wondered. How old is he? Is it too late? “I think he’s about seventy-seven. So, yeah, he’s kinda old.” “If he gets sick, we have to take care of him. He’ll have to come here and live with us.” The simple goodness undid me. Instead of discreetly wip- ing away tears and holding it all in, I allowed myself to cry. Out loud. To cry is to breathe, after all. The child was so free and guileless with his love. “I don’t know if that will ever happen. He lives far away. But it’s kind of you to think of him. He would like that.” I steadied myself by breathing, up and down the length of my body; I went left, then right, imagining that I was letting the breath out of each foot. A few times was enough. There was no need to be overwhelmed by sadness, the old loss of my father. This was, after all, a fresh loss, and not my own. It was Timo’s loss of his grandparent, a hole in his life that was there, real, but not too deep. He jumped over it, in his practical, athletic way. “Well, when he comes here, or when we go to Thailand, we have to meet him. I want to meet him. He’s my grandfather!” “Yes, you’re right. That’s a good idea.” “Now, I’m hungry. What do we have to eat?” KAREN CONNELLY is a poet and the author of such books as Burmese Lessons. Come Cold River, and The Lizard Cage. SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2015 68