What was said, what went unsaid, 16 photos, 1 video

EXT. THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL – DAY

ALEX hikes along the trail ahead of MIKE, Alex’s father. Both are wearing backpacks.

MIKE

The summer your mom was pregnant with you, she was really tired and always sleeping. So Jack and I spent lots of time together. I’d put him on the back of my bike and we’d go to Einstein’s bagels for breakfast. We’d go to the park. We’d go swimming in the pool. We didn’t have any friends because we were in the temporary apartment, so that summer Jack and I got to spend so much time together. It was such a great time.

 

ALEX

Just like this right now. Except with you and me.

 

MIKE

That’s exactly where I was going. I miss Jack, but we’ve been doing so much fun stuff together.

 

ALEX

Mom was pregnant?

 

MIKE

Yeah.

     (getting lost in the memory)

Your mother was so damn beautiful when she was pregnant.

 

ALEX

More beautiful than she is now?

 

MIKE

It was so fun being pregnant. I loved when mom was pregnant. You’re just so excited about it…aw, man, I’m getting’ choked up.

 

ALEX

I’m starting to cry too.

Alex and I chattered away the whole time, but this moment stands out. Such a mishmash of things were suddenly going through my head. I was remembering how it felt when Shani was pregnant with him. You dream about all the things you’ll do with that kid. How much fun it’ll be to be a dad. I was so excited about it.

And then at the same time here I was in the actual reality of being a dad. Here I was backpacking with my 8-year-old son.

Because for all the dreaming I did about how great it would be to be a dad, it could not touch the liquid sunlight joy of the real thing. Of sitting next to each other on a rock overlooking the Lehigh Valley, sharing a peanut-butter and nutella sandwich and drinking ice-pure water that we’d filled from a spring that morning. Of waking up in the shelter at 1:30 AM and listening to the rain on all the leaves. Hearing the rattle of rain on the roof of the shelter. The small body next to me curled up in the sleeping bag. Magic magic magic.

He got it too. As clear as day he got it and it hit him just as hard. So forgive us both if we got a little emotional.

Here are the photos.

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And I know I told you 1 video, but I love ya’, so I’m giving you 2.

 

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7 thoughts on “What was said, what went unsaid, 16 photos, 1 video

  1. Mary Shannon

    When you are an old man, you think he will remember all the bonding and love and discovery and adventure. But he will only remember M&Ms in the oatmeal. I guarantee it.

    1. Hahahaha! For the record, that is MY oatmeal. Alex did not want trail mix in his oatmeal. Oddly enough when Shani saw that photo, she did not believe Alex that it wasn’t his.

  2. Stan and Ellen Kessler

    What a lovely post! And the pictures underscore the fun you were having. Thanks for sharing it.

    Ellen Kessler

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