I rang the doorbell. Inside emanated the familiar barking sounds of an old basset hound, the lock on the door slowly unlatching. Setting down my worn green suitcase, I straightened up. Waiting. The door opened.
“Oh, there he is! Hello, son!” Onto the slate tile floor inside the house, I stepped inside to embrace my father, my father who lives in Portland, Oregon.
“Hi, Pop, how are you?” I gently whispered into his right ear. As he held me close to him, I detected a slight choking up in his throat as he uttered words about being glad I was there, it had been so long. I smelled the familiar cologne on his neck, and I suddenly thought back to those many times when I was a boy asking my father through a smile, “Dad, did you have a peanut butter sandwich today?” Because I could smell the peanut butter. He would just laugh and say, “Well, Mom might have fixed me one.” Always a scent with my father. Always a smell- grass, cologne, the dogs, gasoline…peanut butter.
Standing embraced with my father, I closed my eyes, realizing I was still working to get used to this new reality. No, my mom would not be turning the corner to greet me, would not be bustling down the tiled hallway to hug me. We were alone.
Dad and I stood in a father-son embrace that seem to hang, suspended in time. “I know Dad, it’s been a long time.”