Sunday, March 08, 2009

Very Very Sad Moment

I was working on a story today that was due two days ago when Italo came into the living room/office. He asked if I felt like bike riding with him. He knows I haven't done anything physical due to this damned broken ankle in the last several weeks since I've been home from Peru and that before that there were the three near death stomach operations, and before that the septic spider bite--which means we haven't done a lot of physical together in more than two years. So I said I'd love to as soon as I finished my story.
I worked with a vengeance and got it done by three in the afternoon, then said I was ready. So we got the bikes and put them in the truck. Both of them needed air so we decided to stop at Chepa's to fill them with her compressor, which meant I also grabbed Madeleina's bike in case she would be interested. I hadn't done anything cool with her in months--we've done some stuff but nothing like going bike riding in a new and strange park in a while--and I thought she'd love to be included as a grownup.
So we went off to Chepa's, and while Italo filled the tires I got Madeleina ready and played with Sierra and Alexa. Chepa showed off some furniture she'd refinished this week--I guess she's going to have a garage sale--and asked what was worth, and Sierra and Alexa climbed all over me. And then we were ready and suddenly Sierra wanted to come.
I told Chepa okay, but Italo frowned on the idea. The bike ride, ostensibly to work on my healing ankle and his knee--which got strained badly when he got kicked in a soccer match last night--was really going to be a chance for him to air some grievances he had. Not with me but with someone close to him. He really just wanted to get me away from the house and talk. Bringing Madeleina was already a crimp, but bringing Sierra and her tricycle would mean he wouldn't have my attention for a moment and so he said: "Dad, we really can't bring her. There are hills, bridges, tunnels....she can't ride her bike on that path and you can't hold her on yours. You haven't ridden much in a couple of years and this is not the kind of path where you can sit her on the bar and hope she's okay."
I got what he meant.
But by that time Chepa had gotten Sierra's sox and sneakers and Sierra, just three last month, was screaming: "Mr. P German! I have my sox and shoes! I'm coming!"
But Italo wouldn't have it. And I had to make a choice. If I brought her he would have asked me to take him home. I knew it. He said it. If I didn't, I was going to have one very unhappy Sierra on my conscience.
But the bike ride was his idea. He needed to talk with me. He needed to work with me. He needed dad.
So I went with him.
And as I was pulling out of the driveway at Chepa's, Sierra was hopping, trying to get her sox on while screaming, "I want to go! I'm almost ready Mr. P German! Wait for me! Wait for me!"
And I'm crying writing this because I was leaving that beautiful girl behind and she didn't and couldn't understand the reasoning and she was just so in love with the idea of being with us and riding a bike in the park and she couldn't understand why we were ditching her--what had she done, anyway? She hadn't done anything wrong...and I had to just keep going and it was killing me to keep going but I made the decision and left with her screaming, "Wait for me! I'm coming Mr. P German! I'm coming! I have my bicycle! Don't leave me!" and I did leave her and I was crying the whole stinking way to the park, but Italo needed me and Madeleina needed to be with us and we couldn't do that with Sierra there.
And the minute I got Italo and Madeleina home--after a nice, easy 5 mile ride--I raced to Chepa's to see Sierra and she was there asking me why I left her. "You didn't take me. I just wanted to go Mr. P German. I almost had my shoes on. Why did you leave me here?"
And I wished I could die, but didn't. I still wish I could disappear. I tried to make it up to her with a good dinner and lots of playing but she was still asking, as she left to go home a few minutes ago why I left her when she wanted to come. And I will never do that again. I am not her dad but I love her like I was and I will never ever never leave her that way again, crying, running after us, hopping along trying to get her shoes on, wondering what is wrong with her that makes us not want her with us...I'm sorry baby. I'm very very sorry. I hope you can forgive me. More, I hope you can forget the day when I left you behind.

2 comments:

seve said...

Peter:

This is indeed a sad story, but I'm sure that all is forgiven. You are a good man.

graffitirun said...

My first thought was this: "What can I say? You've said a lot here. It is sad, yes, difficult, yes- but deep down inside, there is resolution."

On a practical note, Sierra will not hold this tightly. In time it will fade and change in her memory, especially after you make it up in grand fashion and take her on a fantastic bike ride on a wonderful day, making a special Sierra dinner, giving her all the attention she needs and then some. (including a simple explanation about the situation.)

On the other hand, Italo needed you. Needed you alone for some special guidance. It appears as though it wasn't about a simple fun day in the park for him. And ignoring that might've been worse than the need to go on without Sierra.

It seems as though something of a certain impending importance needed to be addressed, privately and so forth, and if it wasn't, than it may have boiled over, or been something that would linger and cause both you and Italo greater confusion. And it probably wasn't/isn't something that could have been made up a few weeks later with a sunny day bike ride and some ice cream.

Or maybe I'm way off - I have no idea what Italo needed.

Regardless, I feel you made the right decision.

Just make sure you have a Super Sierra Day, sometime when the sun is shining big time.

But don't sweat it too much. sweating it too much might cloud ideas for the forthcoming festivities.