Sep. 18th, 2009 at 8:34 PM
The day was crisp and cool at the local county fair the day John died. He had a lifelong weakness for younger women, golf and Ferris wheels. He was the only one sitting in the still damp seat on the broken down ride while some of his legal vultures stood below, awaiting his final demise. It could be today. It could be tomorrow. But it would come.
John had not moved nor spoken in weeks. He was filled with remorse for a life that had been not all that it should be. His daughter joined him and gently touched the thin vein slowly pulsating in his hand. His eyes flashed open as he felt her presence and he said,
“Did you get them?”
The operator opened the door for John, who was still clutching the rest of his warm donut as he climbed out. Rain began to fall as he slowly took his last steps. His final breath came as he went to purchase another ticket for a ride he would never have. The vultures carried his body into the car and soon he would be laid to rest. It was over.
John’s daughter insisted on sitting next to his lifeless body as they journeyed to the morgue. She remembered the good times, which were few, and the painful moments in her life, which were many.
The day of his funeral, the Ferris wheel did not operate. It was cold, wet and as gloomy as John had always been. The vultures sat in the first row in the massive cathedral and the trophy wives sat behind them. Instead of prayers, whispers circulated like the wind on who was going to get the best morsels. His daughter sat alone and prayed for him. She prayed that be forgiven for all his poorly chosen roads in life.
The next day she returned to the county fair. She was read the rules about riding the Ferris wheel by a somewhat expressionless man, even though she was the only one sitting in the still damp seat. Not even the changing colour of the leaves and the promise of a rainbow could bring a smile to her face.
She remembers when she and her father were at that same county fair barely days ago. They had tried in his last few minutes to rekindle a relationship that had been splintered by pain and anger. But he was not whole– he was ravaged by cancer that would rob him of life.
She sat motionless in her seat as the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, wondering if her father could see her as she rode towards the top. She asked that he return to her for one brief moment so they could say things never said, but deeply felt. No matter how angry they had become towards each other through the years, they had still had love for each other in their hearts.
The operator opened the door and she knew she had no more chances. She bought a warm doughnut, and bit into it slowly and lovingly. She smiled and threw the doughnut towards the heavens for her father to share.
He knew. He had always known. She had known. They were one and the same.
The vultures stood by the car and watched her as she walked up to the ticket booth once again.
“One, please” she said.
Once again the expressionless operator read her the rules. Once again she stalled at the top. Once again she looks up to the heavens and cried,
“I love you Dad”
Down at the bottom the aged man running the ferris wheel softly says,
And for one brief second when she looked at him she thought saw her father’s eyes. Sometimes we all learn things too late. The only true time you become an adult is when you finally forgive someone for being just as flawed, scarred and full of insecurites as everyone else. It’s human nature.