I want to thank you for giving me the chance of a lifetime: living a life full of hope and care for others for that is a true reflection of you. My memories of you live on in my heart, and I want to relive them by writing about them for the first time.
memories of us: the childhood years
I remember when you took me to the park with Mommy. We really wanted to go to that park more than anything because it had those dangerous monkey bars. I remember hitting my head and crying, resting my head on Mommy’s chest. It was still a great time.
I remember going to Rye Playland with you, Mommy, and Joci. Did you know that that night is the very first memory I have of wearing Lotto’s with interchangeable colors to match every one of my outfits? Thanks for the sneakers. I’m sure they worked out well for a 3 year old.
I remember asking you for chocolate milk once. I can still hear you stirring the Nestle Quik in there, and just when you thought there was enough of that powder, I asked you for more because it didn’t look chocolatey enough. I’d like to think that you added it but I’m not sure. I just know that it tasted so good, especially after having watched you prepare it for me. I know exactly how small I was because I can still see the kitchen counter was several inches over my head.
memories of us: the teenage years
I remember when we would meet at Crotona Park on Saturday mornings. As I write this, I can still feel how anxious I was at the thought of getting to see you in your militia jacket. You looked very handsome in it.
On a whim, we once ended up on City Island. I had never seen that part of City Island before, but I know you were pretty excited about going fishing or crabbing or whatever it is people are able to do with fishing rods there. We went to a park afterward. The sun had already set and it was beginning to get dark. It was hot and sticky out. Mom said I wasn’t allowed to like boys but I thought I’d ask you what you thought of the matter. You said it was natural to like boys at age 12. I think hearing you say this was all I needed to know – a confirmation from Papi that it was OK – because after that I was still convinced I wanted to become a nun.
I remember when we found out you were in Puerto Rico. We didn’t even know you were gone until we got that fated call from the collect call operator, then seconds later you identified yourself, “Freddy.”
During the call you seemed pretty upset. You didn’t want to be there. More frustration. Anger. Pain. Possibly a hangup.
memories of us: latter teenage years
One Thanksgiving you called and I was really excited to give you news that I had a Cuban boyfriend. I don’t know why that was so important. It weighed to have you speak with him, though. You didn’t really express any feeling about him either way, so I’d just have to live that one out. Thanks for taking the time to say Happy Thanksgiving to my puppy love. I thought that was cool.
I remember when you called from PR saying how much you missed us. You said you were saving up to come see us. We’d lost your mother’s previous phone number. Incidentally, you’d called the day I returned from the hospital. I told you about the surgery I’d just had. You wished that I’d get better and you asked to speak to Joci right after that. During our conversation, I even asked you when I could visit Puerto Rico for the first time and see you. I don’t remember your response, but I went to sleep feeling really content to have heard from you.
memories: young adulthood
I remember working a summer job at a retail store. There was a girl there with a heavy accent. I think her name was either Marisol or Maribel. I asked where she was from and she told me she’d just arrived from PR. That moment struck me because I was already in college and had not spoken with you in at least a year. I’d also wanted very eagerly to see and visit you in PR.
Two weeks later, I remember getting news that you weren’t well. I was worried, but I put my whole heart in faith that you’d get better.
memories of us: saying goodbye
I remember visiting you in Florida, PR for the first time.
I love you, I miss you, and I wish you could be here. Thank you for my life. Thank you for the memories. Happy Father’s Day. Que Descances en Paz, Papi. TQM, Luis Alfredo Román.
Love you always,
by Jeanelle Roman