Don’t worry, it being an international flight, we had plenty of time.
“I love you, dad,” I said as I hugged him goodbye.
Funny how hard it is to say sometimes.
“God bless you son,” said my dad.
“Thanks, dad,” I said, feeling uncomfortable as I always did whenever my dad granted god’s blessings upon me.
As if my dad could tell god whom to bless.
“I’ll pray for you every night,” he added.
“Okay Dad,” I said. “If you want to.”
My father and I had never agreed about religion.
He had a very strong dose of it.
I did not.
“Prayer works even when the person you pray for doesn’t believe,” he said good-naturedly for the ten-thousandth time. “God has a plan for you Rusty, even if you don’t realize it.”
“Okay, Dad,” I said, feeling uncomfortable as I always did whenever he started telling me that god had a plan for me.
I like to make my own plans.
“Take care of yourself, son,” said my dad, changing the subject. “I know you’ll be fine.” He knew enough to stop pushing the god thing after a few minutes. We must have argued about god since I was eight-years-old. He never stopped trying, but search my heart as I may I just couldn’t feel it like he did. He smiled and looked me in the eye as he’d done since I could remember, so I knew something was coming.
“Here,” he said softly. “I want you to have this. You never know what might happen…”
He placed a golden ring in my hand.
“This was your mother’s wedding ring,” he said. “I gave it to her over 35 years ago. I’m sure she’d be happy to think you have it now. It’s pure gold, if you ever need to er, hock it or something…”
I didn’t remember seeing the ring before. I was young when my mother died. I didn’t remember much about her at all.
“Thanks dad,” I said. “I’ll keep it safe and carry it for luck.”
“There’s an inscription inside,” said my dad quietly.
I lifted the ring to the light and read it.
“Rosella and Johnnie,” I read aloud. “Three, fifteen, fifty-two.”
“The day we were married,” said my dad.
“I know,” I replied. By a remarkable coincidence, I was born a year later, on the exact same date.
At least, that’s what they tell me.
I was very young at the time, so I’ll have to take their word for it.
I hugged my father again and it felt good.
Sure, we disagreed about things sometimes, things big and little, but there was plenty of love and respect to make up for it.
Goodbye we said, good luck, and we hugged again.
Then he excused himself and left with my stepmother.
After waving them goodbye, the rest of us retired to the bar.
We enjoyed a drink and a laugh as our friends wished us bon voyage and happy landings.
One by one we bid our friends adieu.
They’d still be here tomorrow.
We’d be on the other side of the world.
To be continued...