Broken Promises and Selfishness

My dad always wanted to build a cabin. Get away from the busy city, leave the past tribulations behind, and start a new. I didn’t know a thing about wood working, but it sounded like such a joyous dream, I wanted to learn. A nice weekend project for a father and son, perhaps.

I bought my first pair of steel-toed boots, work belt and rain gear.

While dad begun plotting the land and calculating materials, I attended a trade school. Ten hours a day we were hands on, rain or shine. Measure twice, cut once.

Every day I awoke at 6:00AM, shovelled coffee and cigarettes into my gullet, and took the bus into town. My back was aching after the first week, I didn’t think I could continue. I couldn’t do the math, and I felt visually retarded. Looking at a CAD document may as well have been sent to me from NASA’s aeronautics department. Frustrating, to say the least.

A cigarette breakfast was replaced with an ibuprofen cocktail, and I plowed forward.

By the time I graduated, I found no pleasure in the work. I would go so far as to say I hated myself, knowing the only thing I was qualified for was breaking my back. Dads dream remained his own, and I moved away to pursue other interests.

Sitting behind my desk at Cisco Systems on a cloudy Monday – the phone rang.

“It’s dad…” the voice said.

I felt like I had just left town yesterday, not several months ago.  Why didn’t he say anything? How long had he known?

After putting on a strong face for the funeral, I went out to the cabin. The wood was weathered and warped. It had remain uncovered for months. The cancer spread like the framing of a house. Every time they tried to replace a piece of knotted wood, stronger pieces erected in other locations. It was so sudden, so abrupt. What could I do?

He picked the perfect spot. A soft bluff overlooking the ocean. I found the water-logged blueprints sitting in a feeble looking tool box. A large bay window was to be the center piece of the cabin. Fitting, for a man who hated television.

I looked around the site to see what was salvageable. The wood was gone, the nails were rusted, ductile piping was corroded; waste of money. A shed sat in the back of the property, perhaps for tools. Opening the door, laying perfectly still in the middle of the 4×4 cubicle – my work boots, work belt, and rain gear. In his heart he wanted us to build the cabin together, but I was too selfish to notice.

Grabbing the gear, I put it on, and went to work.

“I’ll finish it dad, you rest now.”

via Daily Prompt: Apprentice

Featured image courtesy Jessica Melnik


13 thoughts on “Broken Promises and Selfishness

  1. Lisa Ralph, Cries from an unkempt garden says:

    Powerful, thanks I teard up in route to my sleep deprived EEG (sigh). For we never know what tomorrow holds. I learned this myself at the age of 9. with the loss of my dad. He was so young, gave into depression. Took his life (selfishly) while on the phone with my sobbing mom. Treasure every moment of the life we have…now back to in route, and my write. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jacobs says:

      Sorry for your loss, Lisa 😦 – It’s true we never know what tomorrow may bring. That’s why I do my best to stay positive, and be kind to others. Until they cut me off in traffic, that is…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nemo says:

    Touched my heart. I know what a loss is. The unfinished dreams pain a lot afterwards. You don’t understand the importance of people when they are alive. But repent forever when they are gone.
    Great work Mark 👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

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