Late Arrival

Leather Craftsmen Ever since we moved to Carteret my dad has had a difficult time keeping a job. As a leather craftsman, his work is very specialized and not available just anywhere. Its been up and down for a long while.

Even when we lived in the Bronx, I remember mom and him getting into fights over his job. For years, he would work Spring, Summer and Fall and without fail he would be out of work all Winter.

I remember that when he was not working, he would spend the day in his pajamas, stuck in his bedroom reading the bible, not interacting with anyone. And the months when he did work he would be gone for a long part of the day. Saturdays were taken up by church activities & services. Sundays were the only days we were all home together. Together but separate. Over the years, I’ve given up expecting to spend fun times with my dad. Little by little, I’ve detached myself from him and expected less and less. No longer do I ask him to play with me and even less to sit with me and read a book.

It has gotten to a point where I have a hard time even dealing with him. Everything he is and says revolves around religion. It makes me sad that this is the way it goes, but it beat getting my heart broken every time he says ‘no, not today.’

So why is today any different? This morning I woke up early & heard my father preparing for work. It is 5:30 and he needs to catch the 6:05 bus to Manhattan in order to make it to work by 8:00 am. He works a full day, has only a half-hour for lunch and then works till 5:00. At the end of the day he walks to the Port Authority bus terminal to catch the 6:15 bus.

Normally he would be home by 7:45 – 8:00pm, but today he is very late. He called home “I fell asleep on the bus…” he says. He overslept and ended up at the end of the line- at the bus terminal in Woodbridge. Mom is so pissed that he did that and that she had to drive out to pick him up. That night, when he got home, I paid attention not only to the clock, which reads 10:00 pm, but to his face. He is worn out, tired and almost seems to be beaten by the drudgery of his long and tiring daily routine.

No wonder he does not have time to play with me. Even if he wanted to…

I realized that maybe he was just too physically worn out to even try. So I ask myself what makes him want to – or – need to go thru this?

This is when I realized that my dad was doing this for us. Sure, he had given up his spare time to earn money – was the easy answer. But really why put yourself thru that? When I looked deeper, I saw his struggle. He came to the U.S. at the age of 51. He lives this life (giving up his dreams of Ecuador) so that me and siblings can have our dreams come true.

He has given up more then just his free time. He has given up himself so that we can have a better life then he would ever dream of having. He has given up his passion so that we can have ours.

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