He was walking across the parking lot, just as I was pulling out.
I let my foot of the gas and let my car roll slowly so I could watch him for a couple of minutes.
He was wearing his ball cap and jean jacket that I have come to recognize,
and his hands were shoved far down into his jeans pockets.
I couldn't see the expression on his face,
but I could almost feel the disappointment that he was going to feel when he figured out that his daughter had already left for the night.
He comes often to see her.
Sometimes walks her to work and shares a morning chat and a cigarette.
Sometimes at dinner, and sometimes to walk her home after the late shift.
We often exchange a smile, a hello, a few niceties about his daughter.
Seeing him tonight made my heart hurt a little.
Had she not told me, I would have figured it out on my own.
There is something far too familiar about him.
The way he carries himself maybe.
The loneliness that is implied by his frequent visits.
The eyes always give a person away.
He reminds me of my Dad.
I drove away tonight thinking of him, thinking of mine.
Wondering about addictions, diseases.
Wondering about friendships, and faith.
Wondering what I could have done better or differently as his daughter.
Wondering what if...
Remembering the nights when I didn't want to go out with friend but was happy enough to go see Dad and play cards.
Remembering the nights where I was too busy to go say hi.
Remembering the calls when I need help, needed advice, needed my Dad.
Remembering that life is too short and you can loose someone before you have a chance to tell them that.
I want to tell her these things.
Tell her to stick around sometimes because he may just want some company.
Tell her to spend time with him now, before its too late.
Tell her that she only has one Dad.
But she is young and has to figure these thing out.
Sort through her anger, her fear
He has let her down in a way that a parent shouldn't.
I want to tell him to take care of her.
I want to tell him that she is really hurting because of him.
I want to tell him that he can get through this, many people do.
He has to try.
For himself and for her.
But I'm not going to.
It's not my place.
I am here to lead and coach her.
To listen when she needs to talk.
Not share too much of my infinite wisdom with her and not meddle in their business.
I will just be the silent observer in the parking lot, hoping that their ending is a happy one.
Because I am not her Mom, nor his Daughter.
And it seems like the right thing to do.