8 AM this morning:  Buoyed by the cross breeze, laying in the background music of Sesame Street, I turned to Carrie.

“My dad only really yelled at me once,” I told her. (She’d probably heard it before—it’s a story I love to tell— but I went on to share how back in the sixth grade we had this football team…and how I wasn’t allowed to play tackle because Dr. Hangar told my father I was too young…but how I’d done so behind his back).

“So we were supposed to play this guy Mike Ina and his friends on a Sunday,” I continued, “And one of my smartest friends, Joel Cohn, just knocks on our side door wearing shoulder pads”.

And all my father could say to me, over and over, was “How could you lie to me?”

He never hit me (ever, for that matter); we talked it out that day; and not once through the rest of his life was it mentioned again. Oh, there were times he’d explode, of course. I’d leave the phone off the hook and face would turn crimson. I’d defend campus radicals:  his voice would rise and his lip would puff and we’d swear he was going to blow the house down.

But never, in all the years after Joel’s knock on the door, in any time we’d disagree, did he ever say “You disappointed me.”

That, I suppose, is why it sticks out…still.

Carrie had a similar story. I knew her dad, in fact, years before knowing his daughter. He was Dick’s father then, my character witnesses applying for grad school. Intelligent, cigar-wielding, and a writer of poetry, Marv was, in a manner, the Jewish Winston Churchill.

Yet her tale’s the same. This morning, a decade after her father’s death, tenderly she recounted to me of a time he’d pulled her aside, with love and said “You disappointed me”. Worse than yelling, she said, was the look in his eyes.

I dropped the ball last year and hurt a loved one. No, it wasn’t the end of the world, and yet, truth be known, I denied it at first. Laughed it off. Justified it.

But I was wrong (and I knew it.My child didn’t say it—in so many words—but I’d disappointed. Disappointed.  (Better there should have been yelling).

I hold on to that day, more now than when it first went down. Not ‘cause it matters still  No,  it’s over. Not ‘cause it’s brought up to this day, as it’s not.

I hold on to it, I suppose—-and so too I cling to the day with my father— because sometimes, reviewing the exact nature of my wrongs….I realize that even more than I let my dad down, I disappointed myself.

I’m better than that, or should be.   Not beating myself up, but eyeing the mirror.

Still, “Sorry” just doesn’t cut it. I know that.  So  just like the tackle football game I never played in…and just like Carrie’s time with her dad…I’m going to be remembering one day last fall

When I disappointed.

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