I see you.
I see the pictures online. I see the days where you drive by in someone else’s car, roaming through a town you no longer reside, or work in. I see your face when I look at my son. I see the tears fall down his face. I see the way you make him feel. I see you put on his team shirt, the one that bears your last name.
But, I can’t hear you.
You don’t call. You don’t write, or text. You spend a month at a time showing how good of a magician you could really be. You disappear. You phone has no ring when it is called upon. Your son waits for the next time he sees your name flash across that 5.1″ screen. He dials your number, just to hear Verizon’s notorious recorded woman of no service scream back at him.
I see him try.
I see him try to call. I see him pick up the phone, week after week and hear her voice, monotone, the sound of no service. I see him try to get excited to see a silver SUV pass us each day. I see him try to leave his phone by his bed, in hopes that someday it will ring. I see him try to count the days until you will be here to pick him up. I see him slump, when someone forgets to, and I show up instead.
I see him cry.
I see him cry, when there is no ringtone. I see him cry at the sight of me. I see him cry when we pass that house on Walnut St. each day. I see him cry looking at his planner, realizing how long it’s been, silently marking days. I see him cry, when his relatives get his hopes up. I see the tears fall, when you don’t show up. I see one slide down his cheek, when he just wants to talk to you, and can’t.
I see him give up.
I see his eyes when I ask if he wants to try and call, and his answer is a constant no. I see him regress at school, and close up his feelings. I see him watch what he eats, when the kid at school calls him fat. I see him begin to sneak, and break rules. I see him become angry. I watch fists clench and listen to his words as he speaks his lost hope that “last time he didn’t pick me up”, or “eh, I’ll just talk to him whenever” as he shrugs his shoulders and grabs his book. I see him become aware of the fact that he wasn’t the one who gave up at all.
I see him hurt.
I see him overcome.
I see him succeed.
I see him have faith. I see him build new relationships, and learn to trust. I see him laugh, and give thanks to the family he has. I see him nurture other human beings, like no one else before him has. I see him ride his bike, and throw that first pitch. I see how he struggles with reading, yet diligently practices at home. I see his smile. I see the passion he has, the willingness to be better each day. I see how he looks at the tomatoes I hide in his tacos. I see him sneak behind those doors to scare the next person walking through. I see the gleam in his eyes, when he hands me a homemade gift.
I see him smile, when I put on my team shirt. The one he requested have his nickname on the back of. The one that matches his hat.
I see him.