You know who you are. You’re sad right now. Well, I have words for you: I understand. Because, you see, I’m the son of a dead fella.
Let me back up.
In ninth grade, I asked Lynn Riddick to a summer dance. Lynn was as cute as an oven mitt, and I was dumb enough to believe I had a chance. When I finally worked up the courage, she answered, “You know, you’re a funny boy.”
“Funny?” I asked.
I was hoping for funny-sexy, but funny-ha-ha was better than being a flat-out shoe-licker.
But then came the final blow. “You’re sweet,” Lynn added. “But I can’t be seen with you. I mean, everyone knows about your daddy…”
Well, I might as well tell you about him since you’ve read this far. My daddy died in a most dramatic manner when I was twelve. The following years were the blackest of all existence. In small towns, girls on the bus don’t exactly choose to sit next to someone whose daddy went out like mine did. Neither do they want to dance.
Anyway, why am I telling you this? You already know why. Because life hurts like hell. There’re no two ways about it. Life is a horse puck sandwich — eat it or starve. And I’m no pessimist, I’m just the son of a dead fella.
But I’m not finished yet. If you’re sad, I want to tell you something.
Be sad. Don’t fight it. Let the sadness run over you like creekwater. Don’t listen to anyone who advises otherwise. Complain, cuss, cry, shout, write, overeat, and sleep.
Because when you’re finished, you’ll discover there’s love out there. Lots of it. When you do, you’ll learn things about yourself that will cause you to feel compassion.
Eventually, you’ll enjoy art again. And tomatoes, baseball, and people. You’ll notice the sky is as colorful as a Senoia sunrise. When you close your eyes you’ll see the color yellow. And when you hear music— well, I won’t spoil it. But some glad morning, you’ll see.
You have no reason to believe me, because I’m no expert. In fact, according to Lynn Riddick, I’m a funny boy. But she’s wrong.
I’m just the son of a fella who killed himself.
And I’m not sad anymore.