A belated Father’s Day tribute.
“You don’t have to go to any trouble,” he tells me.
He’s never one to make a fuss.
I mutter something about it being no trouble,
but I’m distracted by the label on the soup can,
doing a mental inventory of the ingredient list.
I am fourteen and home alone.
He is taking my older sister back to school.
I don’t remember where Mom and Linds are.
But I am fourteen and home alone,
and I have decided that dinner should be on the table
when Dad gets home from Granville.
“Would you eat it if I made it?” I ask, nervous
because I’ve never cooked for him before.
“Of course,” he reassures me, “but you really don’t have to.”
“I know I don’t have to. I want to.”
I time it perfectly. The rice is finished and mixed in
just a few minutes before I hear the garage door open.
Just enough time to taste test.
I like it, but will he?
I act like it’s nothing.
“Dinner’s ready whenever you want,” I say
after I ask about the drive.
He sits down at the table
with the crossword puzzle and coffee.
He always does this.
He is a brilliant man and a creature of routine.
And this time, he has my dinner.
He tries it. I hold my breath.
He is a man of few words,
but when he speaks,
he reshapes my world.
“You’re going to make some guy
really happy one day,”
he tells me.
But all that matters —
all that’s ever mattered —
is that I’ve made him happy.