A Father's Moment Of Contemplation
From the Print Edition:
Chuck Norris, Jul/Aug 98
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I thought about my wife and our newborn son. I thought about his older brother who, knowing nothing of medicine, instinctively knew that something very wrong had happened to his new brother. I thought about whether or not the lawn needed to be mowed, or whether it could wait another week or so. I thought about raking up some of the leaves that had already begun to carpet my lawn. And then I thought about the face of my newborn son.
At one point, during one of our earliest visits with him, he looked at me. Not so much at me as through me, though; a soul-piercing stare that locked my eyes and cut through all my usual defenses. I couldn't laugh that stare off, couldn't gamely act as if it weren't important, couldn't discount it out of hand. The look said--well, I still can't put into words exactly what it said. I've read writers who have tried to convey a look like that. Up until that moment, and ever since, I haven't read anything that adequately conveys everything that I felt when he looked at me, and the volumes written upon his infant face. I cannot give you an adequate description now, either.
I thought about that moment with my son a lot as I smoked that Fuente. Maybe the stars were out, maybe the moon was full. I don't know. With each cloud of smoke I exhaled, I thought of my son, my family and myself, and what the future held for all of us.
Some time later, the cigar and I had reached our limits. I stubbed it out on the concrete beneath my feet, listening again to the faint nocturnal stirrings of that October night. Then, cigar, (and, finally, myself) exhausted, I went inside and fell asleep.
Maybe I hold my youngest a few moments longer than I did his older brother at that age. Maybe I worry too much about both of them. Maybe I'm human.
I know this, though. I still have two Fuentes from that box in my house, still in their box. They are in no humidor; no special precautions have been taken to ensure the continuance of that elegance that I tasted that October night nearly four years ago. They are there for me and for me only, as a reminder of that time, and as a reminder that life, like those cigars, is finite.
Dominick DeMarco is the communications director for the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
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