The last time I went home, my father and I decided to go through old home movies. It’s rare that we do anything together, or that he lets me into his emotional space, so I leapt at the opportunity. Most of them were just vacation videos, chubby me bouncing around smiling somewhere on the beaches in Maryland. But we eventually found one of my Grandfather; his dad, just talking into the camera, talking to us. About how to be good men, how to treat people, how to live life in the best way we possibly can. We sat there watching it in silence for far too long. Towards the end however the tape suddenly cut out; and the last 15 seconds were just the snow and static of a faulty VHS. There was a little bit of time spent trying to figure out if we could get it to work, but I eventually gave up and went to carry on with my blissfully aloof life. My Dad didn’t; He just sat there, rewinding the tape, over and over again trying to fix it. Trying to salvage those last moments he should have had with his father. I fruitlessly tried to tell him to give it up. Give it a rest. But he just kept telling me, as the authority that recorded the tape in the first place, that; “There should be 15 more seconds”. I don’t want to think about how long he sat there, rewinding that tape as tears rolled down his face.
“There should be 15 more seconds.”
I’m a lot like my Dad, we’re both really cold, distant people, who don’t really let many people in. I used to think that my fierce independence was a sign of how strong I am, but as I grow older I’m starting to realize it’s probably the opposite. I’m not alone because I’m strong enough to be alone, I’m alone because I’m too weak to lose people.
I fell in love with a girl who lived in my phone recently. It’s incredibly embarrassing but it happened; and when she finally decided that trading flirtatious text messages with me wasn’t as fun as it should have been, and “walked” away from it all, it sent me into a hole that I’m probably still trying to crawl out of. There’s my weakness poking through. I couldn’t even handle losing someone who may or may not even exist. A fictional character for all I know. Imagine the damage done if I were to lose an actual person. So to deal, I just shut everyone out and sit here on Capricorn Island by myself. Because if you don’t play you never have to lose.
Losing does that to you. Losing turns you into an old, teary-eyed man trying to salvage those last 15 seconds, and I’m probably not ready for that. Losing turns you into a Dad, Rewinding.