He did. And you may wonder how can that be.
My dad liked to tell stories so he did. Ever since we were little, my sister and I listened to countless stories about places he’d been to, people he met and things he’s seen. All wrapped up in his words like supple yet tough ribbons, big enough to encompass a whole world and sturdy enough to never break. Some stories made us laugh, some made our eyes grow round with fright, and some made us look at each other as we both said “eeww…” because, well, some stories were just like that. The repertoire was endless, much to our delight.
My dad used to smoke also. Always outside and he only liked a special kind of cigarettes with no filter and a strong smell. When we were little he used to make volcanoes out of cigarette butts he would place in a hole in the ground.
Every night, long after dinner and when the daily buzz was no more, he would step outside and light a cigarette. Often times I would follow him. The stories, you see, I knew there were more so I wanted to listen to some more. His voice was low, every now and then a small cloud of smoke would lick his face and then the dark would gobble it up. The tobacco plus dad smell lingered. Some stories were new, some were repeats. That never bothered me. I guess it wasn’t just the story line after all…
But one night… It was late summer and getting close to my leaving home to go to university, six hours or so away from home. We were walking alongside the house towards the bench under the grapevine. The moon was bright and we were both silent, listening to the cricket choir. Far in the distance there were frogs too, and though my dad was telling no stories, we were knee-deep in many. Silence had never talked clearer to us…
“See the moon? It’ll be here again and again and again… Every time I’ll come out and see it I will think of you. You will see the same moon too, wherever you will be, and you’ll think of us and home, that’ll bring our thoughts together…”
So it happened. Many moons on many nights sent my thoughts home and to my parents. The moon in the sky was never just the moon anymore. It was all the time I spent at home, my dad’s funny, scary, crazy stories, my mom’s kind presence around the house, the deep, raw fragrances of summer nights with cascades of sounds quieting our words, mornings of wonder and the many adventures my sister and I had in the house and in our wonderful, thick-green yard guarded so lovingly by a far-away moon that my dad, somehow, brought all the way down, placed in the cradle of my heart and allowed me to hold onto from then onwards.
Now on the other side of the world, the moon is still mine to hold, to shelf all my childhood memories in its dusty craters and take them out one by one, but just so carefully put them back.
So you see, my dad did give me the moon. You probably wondered but how could that be? Now you know. And I know too. Which is why I will thank him. Again…and soon.