Without a Map
By Meredith Hall
He drives a little bronze car. He drives slowly along my dirt road. He glances at me quickly as I stand waiting on the steps. I can see blond hair, curls. He turns off the car. He reaches for something, gets out, looks at me, and never takes his eyes off me again. He shoulders a soft old book bag and walks slowly toward me. This is my son, the son I am meeting for the first time, meeting on this warm fall day after twenty-one years of waiting. He is thin, graceful as he walks toward me waiting in the sudden sun. He is not a baby. He is not a child. He is a young man, and he walks toward me while I wait. He wears jeans and a sweater striped around his chest. We are in a slow-motion film. Waiting. Receiving. His feet are in old loafers. He comes toward me, his feet crunching on the stone path in the silence that joins us. Our eyes draw us together, lead him to me, a force joining us, a connection fierce and overwhelming as he slowly comes along the path. His teeth are brilliant white; there is a space. My father has a space like that. I step toward him. Every day for all these years I have played this scene in my mind. I have never known what to do. I do not know now. I think I must be smiling. I think I am breaking, breaking with joy, with love, with grief because here he is a grown man, here I am middle-aged, all the years gone forever and we know it in this moment more than ever before. I reach for him and hold him in to me, a stranger, my son, this beautiful, radiant, terrified son.
Beacon Press: Boston, Mass (2007)
‹‹ back to top