Maybe you had never given me the chance to…
It was almost October. The leaves were already yellow, but the weather was surprisingly mild. He had the moonroof opened all the way.
Driving past a row of two-story townhouses, we stopped briefly in front of one with the dangly stair fences…
He: Oh gosh. I haven’t been here for years. It’s still the same. This was my childhood home. I can’t believe the new owner hasn’t done anything to those fences! It’s so dangerous! *gasped*
Me: Hey, thanks for showing me a piece of your memory. *staring out the window*
He: No, no. Thanks for coming out with me. I haven’t driven to this part of the city since, well, forever. *looking down at his hands*
Me: I see that it holds a special place in your heart still.
He: Yeah. When I was about grade 4, I remember skipping school one day. It was right after their divorce. My mom was curious when the school called. I didn’t have a cellphone then, but she guessed where I could have gone and called my dad.
Me: Were you here? *pointing at the townhouse*
He: Haha, yes. I broke into the house. When they found me, I was watching TV with a tub of ice cream.
Perhaps we were too young to understand divorce.
But please don’t be surprised when we act out.
The yellow kitchen light made his face seem unusually bright. The house was quiet. On the island were plates of half-eaten food already cold.
Sitting across from each other, we smiled with understanding…
He: This was the first time I’ve ever told anyone about this. *suddenly stood up*
Me: Not even your ex-girlfriend? Or your best friend in school? *cocked my head*
He: No, I was too ashamed. I worry about what they may think if they knew my family was like that. Everyone seems to have a normal, happy family but me.
Me: Perhaps they are just like you. They are also embarrassed to share what really goes on inside the family.
Silence, then he nodded.
Me: Thank you for sharing your story with me. I’m honoured to be your audience.
Everyone has a story.
Some may take longer to open up.
Patience and a listening ear may sound easy, but most of us are too busy telling our own.