#FridayFlash: The Gift of Love, Eventually

The Gift of Love, Eventually
by Tony Noland

I gave you my favorite book, the one that opened my eyes and helped me to see the passions behind the hard metallic surfaces people show the world.

You hated it. You called it trite, simplistic, throwaway fluff.

I gave you my favorite painting, the jewel of a glossy gallery showbook that presented and discussed the genius of his age, the one who used slantings of light and shadings of color to make empty streets full of promise, empty fields full of sunlight, empty rooms full of laughter.

You hated it. You called it cartoonish, vacant, kindergarten crap.

I gave you my favorite movie, the one that made me cry in the theater, the one I bought on VHS, on DVD and again on Blu-Ray, the one that starred me as I might have been, could have been, should have been.

You hated it. You called it plodding, morose, escapist fantasy.

I played you my favorite song, cooked you my favorite meal, took you to my favorite place.

All of these I gave you, and all of these were the same worthless shit in your eyes.

I know now that it's time for me to stop running from the truth.

What is the truth?

The truth is...

The truth has nothing to do with my book, my painting, my movie or anything else that I have taken up and called my own.

Nothing.

The truth is that you weren't reacting to them, seeing them, passing judgement on them.

You were reacting to me. Seeing me. And, as I must now accept, passing judgement on me.

So.

And so, I will stop making this about me and I will give you what you want.

This year, when I give you a three dollar card from the aspirin and magazine aisle at the supermarket and a five dollar "World's Greatest Dad" mug, will you know that I have surrendered? That you have, at last, won?

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

33 comments:

  1. This is quite a powerful story. Very sad, but too often true.

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    1. Thanks, Eric. This is true more than it should be.

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  2. I know *exactly* what you mean. Very well said.

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  3. Sad, but true for so many people (including you?).

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    1. No, my Dad and I are cool. We don't see eye to eye on everything, but we give each other books and movies that we enjoyed. Sometimes they click, sometimes not, but it's always a source of conversation & closeness, not rejection.

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  4. My first thoughts were struggling with a spouse, and the second was trying to open up the mind of his child. There are so many relationships that can go so similarly rotten.

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    1. I'll admit that I left it vague at first, just because this is the kind of thing that could happen with any family member. Not so much with a friend, because that kind of a relationship would soon wither and die away.

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  5. I went through this with my ex. This one cut close Tony. Loved it.

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    1. I wish this kind of thing were fictional. I'm sorry that it wasn't so for you, but on the other hand, I'm glad you loved it!

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  6. Hit me in the guts this one.. it's so hard being a dad and even harder being a son... "Judge not" is the toughest call..

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    1. Thanks, Tom. We are all called upon to accept the differences in the people we love. It's part of what love is, I think.

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    2. Absolutely.. a good friend of mine said to me once..our children don't belong to us, we're just looking after them until they can belong to themselves.

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  7. I, too, initally thought this was a struggle with a spouse. But, as you mention above, this kind of relationship, the search for acceptance, for catharsis, can exist with anyone sufficiently close to us.

    So well written, while I can't directly relate, I still found it a powerful read.

    Thanks, Tony.

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    1. It's my pleasure, Jack. Thanks for reading.

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  8. I'm glad you pointed out that it wasn't autobiographical! I thought it was about a relationship at first, it called to mind Orianthe's "According to You." I know the feeling of never being good enough, and it can take a lifetime to get beyond that.

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    1. There's a common thread here for many of us, and seeking a parent's love and respect. Ideally, the parent shouldn't make it hard to do.

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  9. I didn't the dad part coming and it made the unrequited love hurt so much worse when it did. Good job.

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  10. Wow, and I, like others, originally thought this was about conflict between partners. Didn't see dad coming. Good work, Tony.

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    1. I think I caught a lot of people off guard with the reveal.

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  11. A strong story, Tony ... story of my life, when my husband's "up". Fortunately, was blessed with two good sets of parents (birth and adopted).

    The ending bit deep. It's horribly sad, as though the narrator had lost something of himself in giving in.

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    1. Yes, the narrator has more or less laid down and died inside. It's a bitter pill to swallow.

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  12. I think it's all been said. This felt like it took a much darker/more real tone than your usual work. I really liked it.

    Feels like you've captured something of yours and transmuted the feeling into this story.

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  13. I'm glad you liked it, Pete! There's some of me in this, but, as I note up above, it's not an autobiographical piece (thank goodness!).

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  14. Powerful. I, like many of the others, felt it going one way and then was hit that much harder at the reveal. Very well done.

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    1. Thanks, Aaron. Tricksy twist endings are best when they don't seem gratuitous. I'm glad this one worked for you.

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  15. Glad it's not a true story, see eye to eye on most things with my dad, but sometimes not so much, but we try avoid those things and focus on the good stuff.

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  16. Oh that's very sad, the realisation that you have been trying to gain the approval of a parent that just didn't get you. Strong writing here Tony that made the reader feel the frustration and the pain of the main character.

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  17. This cuts deep; very slice-of-life. The final focus is different than what I had imagined, but I’m grateful for that.

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  18. Luckily I've never had this kind of thing with my parents, they have a bewildered sort of appreciation of my eccentricity (in much the same way I imagine the Kents indulged Clark) but I've had it with other people before. It's always sad when they reject everything that makes you 'you', and you have to realise it's essentially you they're rejecting.

    You're a true master.

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  19. Gosh this is powerful - and sadly true for some. Nicely told and packed with emotions - well done my friend

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