The music captured me at dawn.
I surrendered to their haunting melody as it twirled around me, teasing, playing and enchanting. On the waves of their song, came the flood of memories I’d forgotten.
Tired fingers wrapped around the cheap ballpoint pen, as I closed my eyes, reveling in the sensation of life.
The faintest notes of a guitar floated by, my eyes opened as I scrawled opening lines on the cover of the plastic menu.
My father was made of yarn. Millions of strands twined together, adding layers to the personality I saw as his character. He played the guitar by ear. On weekends and Friday nights, everyone would sit on the porch to hear him play. Then we’d all sing along.
God was real to me in the way I saw you praising him.
I smiled, chewing on the end of the pen. Those were precious memories. Music was the ribbon that tied our family together.
Palm trees rustled in rhythm with the surf, triggering another memory that would require more paper. I reached for a napkin, tugging it from the metal holder.
One of your threads was solely devoted to plants. When I dreamed of willow trees, you promised we’d get one. We planted a curly weeping willow tree, right by my bedroom window. The whole day was an adventure, just the two of us. We searched all the stores for the perfect tree and planted it at dusk. The stars smiled from above when the sun set.
I never did have that knack for plants, but with you, I felt like a garden fairy.
The napkin fluttered as I tucked it inside the menu. The curly willow tree still stood outside the bedroom window. Dad had taken my dream and made it reality.
“Mrs. Halbred?” The waitress hovered near my elbow. “Your father’s arrived.”
I nudged my empty plate away. “Thank you, Besty. Please show him over, and we’d like some coffee and tea.”
“Coffee and tea?” Betsy’s paused in mid-sentence.
“Coffee for him, tea for me.” I clarified. “Five creamer and light toast.”
Dad shuffled over to the table, silver-tinted hair gleaming in the morning sun. “Mornin’ Dev.”
I pushed his chair out with my foot. “Mornin’ Dad.”
We shared a smile, the moment interrupted by Betsy’s arrival. When she left, Dad’s grin stretched across his face.
I perked a brow. “What?”
The grin grew wider.
I grudgingly allowed a small smile. He’d figured it out. I bent to rummage in my duffel, drawing out a colorful book. “Happy father’s day!”
Dad stirred the creamer into his coffee as he reached for the scrapbook. “Nice cover.”
“Wait!” I tucked the napkin inside the menu’s plastic pocket. “These go with it too.”
Dad chuckled. “At the rate you’re running this restaurant, you’ll put yourself out of business scribbling on every available menu or napkin!”
“Aren’t you going to read it?” I retorted, fishing the teabag out of my cup.
Silence claimed the next few seconds, as Dad thumbed through the collection of our shared memories. He finally focused on the menu and napkin.
A giant gulp of coffee washed away his first reaction. “That’s very…creative.” He finally managed.
“Took me awhile.” I nudged the napkin holder over, barely managing to hold onto the tears that threatened to break out.
“You remembered the fireflies?” Dad choked down another swig of coffee.
My smile mirrored his. “Fireflies, willow trees, bonfires and running through the night wind. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate everything you gave me-especially your time. These memories are priceless in the treasure box of my heart.”
Dad nudged the napkin holder back over. “Very poetically put. You’re welcome.”
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