As the sound of the ballgame scratched over the radio, I found myself stuck staring out the window of my dad’s 2004 Dodge Stratus.
Not able to tell the difference between words and static crackling, my dad killed the radio and began to ask questions on how my day went.
“Great!” I replied with a sarcastic tone. “Same shit different day.”
“Excited for your baseball season to start up?” he asked hoping to raise some excitement out of me.
“Yeah, it shouldn’t be too bad,” I said trying to convince even myself I was going to enjoy my senior year of baseball.
After pulling into the store, I stayed behind to start picking through the dirty dimes and nickels sitting in my dad’s cup holder hoping I would find enough quarters for a bag of chips.
With my dad already in the store, I was the only one in the car to notice the sound of his cell phone viciously vibrating in the center console. Being the nosey, know-it-all senior I was, I just had to find out who was calling. To no surprise, the call was coming from my mom.
Thinking she was going to ask us to grab a few extra things for dinner, I answered, but not to hear the same joyful voice that my mom usually spoke with, but with a voice of pain and sadness.
Not knowing what had happened to make her like this, I started firing off questions trying to hit what had made her so upset.
“Mom what is it, what’s wrong, is everything ok?”
“Yes, Nate I’m fine. You and your dad just need to come home as soon as possible.”
As I hung up the phone, I could only sit there in complete confusion trying to figure out the reason for the frantic call from my mom. When my dad got into the car, I told him to hurry home, because mom wanted to talk to us, totally leaving out the fact she sounded as if she was holding back tears.
After a long car ride home, it was finally time to figure out what had placed my mom in such a state of emergency. Worried and not knowing what to expect, I popped open the old wooden door to our house to find my mom in the kitchen waiting.
“What’s up stinky,” my dad said in a playful voice, completely ignorant to the sad situation.
“Your Uncle Matt,” my mom said with a long pause, “he passed away a few hours ago.”
As silence struck the air like a ball of thunder, I couldn’t help but watch my dad’s reaction. Shocked and with a visible signs of disbelief, he walked out back to the steps and sat there alone like he was almost trying to hide from the bad news, which wasn’t like the man I grew up idolizing. But there it was, the man that I thought to be superman had just lost the one hero he had looked up too his whole life, the one man who played the role of his father when he had no one.
As I walked out to comfort him, I started to plan what I was going to say, which was going to be the typical, “He’s in a better place” bullshit that we tell ourselves to help cope with the pain of a loss.
I sat down next to my dad and swung my long, lanky, pail, arm around his shoulder. But before I could even gain the power to speak, I saw the one thing I thought I would never see, the single drop of water to prove that even the man I looked up too has his moments of weakness. The single tear drop finally proved that it’s all right to cry.