The only words between us most days were the ones in his newspapers. I had gotten really good at make believing that the sighs and half-syllabic hums coming from the other side were his reactions to something magical he had heard me share. Fooling myself became like breathing.

I never understood the feeling of wanting to be at Dad’s side and as far away as possible in the very same moment. And in a way I was, sitting there and yet on the other side of the hill, or in the woods, or sometimes in the clouds.

A smile can hide everything.

I faked my way through the one or two points of discussion that would crop up, brief conversations about whatever was going on in the world while a whole world was going on inside my head and heart.

A breeze would roll in from the west, carrying with it the cigars that clung to his skin. Sometimes when the wind hits me just right I can still smell him, and when I have the time I’ll stop and listen and sometimes hear his laugh.

I look like him now. I laugh like him, too. I had always thought the gruff, almost congested rumble came from his smoking.

Fo(u)nd Memories is now a published short story collection! To read the full story, order a copy here.