He waited for an hour.
He was sure one of his sons would come; despite everything he’d always been a good father. Sure he hit them, sometimes to a pulp, but that’s how you instilled good behavior and responsibility back in the day, that’s what being a good father entailed. The last thing he wanted was a foolish son roaming the streets; nowadays, there were enough of those. The first one, he didn’t have the height for sports, but he had the brains. The last one was too skinny, too sensitive to be anything special, a poet at best. It was the middle one, the middle son who he knew would amount to something special. He was counting on it. His daughters had never crossed his mind as a possibility.
There was an incident once; the scenes would come to him in the least opportune times. They had had a wonderful day and it culminated to one defining moment in the car when he asked the boy to talk to his mother, ask her to come home. She kept leaving and he needed a woman to take care of him. Who would iron his shirts and make sure dinner was ready by the time he’d come home? The boy would not even consider it, so he lost it. The remains of their leftovers, from the wonderful restaurant they had gone to laid splattered throughout the inside of the car, while the boy cried, bleeding from his nose. Kids today, they were too disrespectful for their own good.
Weeks and months passed before he realized how confused he was about everything. He had been headed somewhere important that morning. He knew it was important because he woke up feeling very determined about it; first thing out of bed he got dressed in his best slacks and crisp tan shirt, ate his fried eggs, and headed right on out that door. All of a sudden he was on the interstate, terrified, not knowing where he was headed or where he was coming from. He had to pull over, just to control his shaking; he felt embarrassed about it, but he knew someone would come.
He waited for an hour. It felt that long to him but he had lost all concept of time in the past few months. He knew his sons though, knew them well enough and was sure one of them would come, so he waited, looking to see if the tall, lanky figure walking towards him was one of them, preferably the middle one. He recognized that walk anywhere. As the minutes passed he started to panic, at this point he would have been happy to see one of his daughters.
At home his phone was ringing. He hadn’t brought it with him, one of the many things he kept forgetting, though the thought of calling somebody hadn’t crossed his mind. Forgetfulness had turned into complete mental omissions. It started with misplacing things, not recalling his grandchildren’s names; then it evolved into forgetting the faces of colleagues he had known for years.
Physically he still carried himself with the essence of his charisma, his stallion youth. He was always a proud rooster. At one point he was courting the finest ladies on the island, and that was a great feat for a man who wasn’t the best looking to say the least. Besides his penchant for all the fine ladies, he had another problem, and that was that he picked them way too smart. Back then smart women all became teachers since there were no other choices for them. The one advantage he had was that they were also raised in his patriarchal culture, and believed every sweet talking lie he told them. In the end, they had his children, but never stuck around long enough to deal with his unscrupulous behavior.
There’s no point in having any regrets. He did what he did because it was the time, it was how he was raised, he was proud of it, proud of his charm and ability to talk to anyone, he had delved into politics for a bit, but now, now it was hard for him to follow even the simplest of conversations. He kept forgetting things but it wasn’t a big deal, not to him, not to his sons, not to anyone that cared, not until now.
At home his phone was ringing, it rang and rang while he sat by the side of the highway waiting.