It hits him like a ton of bricks.
You would think something like this would have been triggered by a song or a movie or some other odd seemingly unrelated event but it wasn’t. It was like a bolt of lightning out of the blue that just smacked him in the face out of nowhere.
One minute, Bambi is walking out of his class with his nose shoved in his copy of Shakespeare he keeps in his backpack whenever class is too boring (which is often). The next minute, he’s paused in the middle of the hallway with people pushing past him and his mouth is just formed into this perfect little ‘o’.
This has really never occurred to him after all this time. Honestly, now that it was lodged into his brain and scratching it’s way into the forefront, he’s almost embarrassed he hadn’t thought of it before. The hallway is practically empty before Bambi makes a move to leave his spot in the middle of it and he’s in such a hurry that he has to retrace his steps to go back for his book that he has somehow dropped.
But this idea is all-consuming now in it’s need to be acted out so he walks as quickly as he can through the cold and literally bounds up the stairs to the Senior floor. He doesn’t even have the time to wait for the elevator. After what seems like years of walking, he’s finally in his dorm and seated at his desk.
How had this much time gone by without him piecing this together? Was he really that selfish?
The only thing Bambi can think in his defense is that his father is so strong. He never seems upset. But that was the thought that occurred to Bambi in the middle of the hallway with his face in King Lear.
Maybe his father just never let him see that he was upset. Just because he didn’t crawl into a depression like Bambi did didn’t mean he wasn’t hurting.
While Bambi completely shut himself down after his mother’s murder, his father trudged onward and Bambi had mistaken that for being uncaring. But maybe it was just a different kind of shutting down. Maybe the loss of her hurt him just as badly as it did Bambi, maybe even more, and the only way he knew how to deal was to throw himself in his work and push everyone away.
And Bambi had let all this time go by without so much as an apology.
He feels absolutely horrible but he begins to write out a letter in the hopes of rectifying his mistake.
I know you’re probably wondering why I didn’t just call or e-mail. But those just didn’t seem personal enough. Anyways, I know you’re not much for beating around the bush, so i’m going to just go ahead and jump right in. I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sorry it took me this long to apologize.
That night that mom died, I shut down. I got all caught up in my own pain and my own guilt that I never really stopped to consider your pain. You lost your wife that night. You just seemed so strong, you know? You went right back to work and I thought that meant you didn’t care. But you had to be strong for our family, or what was left of it. You had to be strong because I was so weak. I’m sorry for that.
Sometimes I get upset with you because you should have been there. You probably would’ve known what to do. You would’ve known how to stop that man. But the thing is, i’m glad you weren’t there. I feel guilty feeling that way but it’s true. It’s hard enough having to live without mom and, despite our differences, I couldn’t handle losing you too. Especially if I had lost you before we made some progress. I love you, dad. I don’t say it enough but it’s the truth.
I guess what i’m trying to say is i’m glad you’re still here. I’m thankful that you somehow managed to stay so strong through all of this. I’m sorry that I couldn’t protect mom. I’m sorry you lost your wife and i’m sorry it took me this long to apologize. I let myself focus on my own pain and I shouldn’t have done that. I want us to move forward in our relationship. We took a step forward this last time you were here and I think in order to keep with this progress I just need to put it all out there. If this makes you mad, I understand but at least you’ll know how I feel. If you do get upset, please don’t yell at Baxter. He’s got that heart condition, it’s not good for him to get scared.
I really love you dad. We’ve both made mistakes but it isn’t too late to fix them. That sounds like something mom would say, right? I think she’d be pleased. But this is just about me having to get all of this off of my chest so we can move on.
Bambi has the letter folded and sealed in an envelope before he has the time to rethink anything or have any doubts. Perhaps this will destroy any progress they have made but perhaps it won’t.
It’s worth it, it has to be.
He sticks the letter in his bag so he won’t forget to mail it off and the scratching in his brain stops. He leans back in his chair and feels more free than he has in a long while.
It just has to be worth it.