He was a walking mountain.
His summit wasn’t peppered with frost just yet; that would come years later.
In my six year old eyes, my father was invincible, a myth that had grown since I last saw him two years earlier. The gap in time would be the shortest of many to come.
“Shortest” is how I describe it now. But at the age of six, two years might as well have been fifty. Still, I’d stitched together enough of an impression to squeal in excitement when I saw him that night.
It was a Friday night. Pentecostal and Spanish, my family attended church service seven days a week. (The term “school night” never brought a reprieve from worship).
The devotional was in full swing with tambourines jangling, cowbells ringing, and people singing. I was sitting in a pew, my feet swinging inches off the carpeted floor, when an usher tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the church entrance.
That’s when I saw him.
His tall, muscular form took up the entire doorway. He had on a black leather jacket, black jeans, and black shoes. He’d combed his hair back and trimmed his beard into a solid, neat form.
“He named you after Michael Knight from Knight Rider,” my mom would tell me. It was my favorite show. I’m not sure if what she said was true, but I did think my father looked like a Latin David Hasselhoff except with facial hair, like a real man.
To say I ran down the church aisle is an understatement. I bolted towards my father yelling “PAAAAPIIIII!” (dad in Spanish) without a thought to how I looked to everyone around me.
I jumped into his arms, and he scooped me up as if I were the lightest thing in the world. I can still feel his needle-like whiskers on my cheek as he kissed me.
I was going to spend the weekend with him; my mom hadn’t told me anything. She’d secretly packed my clothes in a bag and brought it with her.
God, the church, even my mother melted away in a blur of pure ecstasy. I was leaving right then and there with my father. He carried me to his car and buckled me in. My mother couldn’t afford a car, so knowing my father had one left me in awestruck.
We drove off into the night, and I had him all to myself.
This is a powerful, sacred memory I keep tucked away in a safe part of my mind. I pull it out every once in awhile to siphon some of the positive energy I felt that night. I blame the always honest, never boring ifidiebeforeisleep for my little reflective post. Do yourself a favor and visit her blog.
What fun, beautiful, or powerful childhood memories do you hold onto and revisit?