A Son’s ‘Goodbye’

My neighbor told me this when
at the mailbox we did happen to meet.
He started to talk about his son, but then
his voice trailed off, his eyes averted to his feet.

“Anything wrong with your son?” I asked with concern.
“No….He is fine.” There was more unspoken than
spoken in those words. “Last night he phoned. I was glad to learn
his promotion came through. All’s well. It’s just that we can

now never seem to relax when talking with each other.
That father-son loving relationship simply isn’t there.
We had a falling out a couple of years ago. His mother
says we’re too alike - each unwilling to give an inch anywhere.

We’ve since reconciled. For the grandkids ’sake, it was the thing to do,
but we haven’t recaptured the warmth of affection, however hard I try.
Last night in ending our call, I said ‘Goodbye, son, I love you.’
His reply echoes in my head still. His response was merely...‘Goodbye’.”

Harry Edward Gilleland      06.26.02