The father walked away from his family, holding back the tears that fought to break out of his eyes and down his cheeks. Thoughts berated his mind of whether he would come back to once again hold his arms around his wife and sons, but there was no way to know. Two tours in Iraq had already made him a changed man—there was no telling the fate that may befall him this time. He tried hard not to think too much about it as he walked down the street to where the bus would pick him, his duffel bag dragging his shoulder down with a weight dwarfed by the heaviness in his heart.
“Father!” he heard a yell from behind him as he came upon the bus. The voice stabbed deep into his chest.
“Son… it’s hard enough to say goodbye once. Please don’t make me have to do it more.”
“I wanted to tell you, Father… I want to be a writer, just like you.” The boy replied showing distinction beyond his tender years.
The father sighed as he bowed his head. He took a step and reached out grasping his son’s arms as he took a knee before him. “Son, to be writer you must do three things.” His son looked him in the eye with all attentiveness. “First, you must live a life full of experiences. Try everything you can and never shy away from an opportunity to expand yourself. Your life must be filled with successes and failures, moments of joy and sorrow, and above all it must be filled with passion. This is the first thing you must do.”
“Second, you must live always in the moment. Never let an experience blow by without knowing how it made you feel, how it made you breath, or how others reacted in it. This will teach you what life is about… and how others feel about it themselves.”
“And the last, my son… the last thing is that you must learn to convey those experiences, so that all people can live through your words, breathe in the event which you are describing, feel the emotions that most people cannot describe… that is the gift of a writer.” He looked sternly into his son’s eyes. “These things you must do and do with devotion.”
His son threw his arms around his father but he did not shed a tear. “Will I see you again, Father?” He placed his hand on his son’s chest and took a long breath—a deep smile shown on his face as he got off of his knee and turned to walk onto the bus.
Through the window at his seat, the father watched his son staring back at him. The window was too thick to hear his son yelling to him, saying “I love you!” The father simply nodded back to him, and his boy knew exactly what that had meant.