After graduation, my father drove me
to Union Station, and we stopped
and stood near the bullet holes
where the mobster Frank Nash
was killed in a shootout with the FBI
and Father said he remembered
standing in that exact spot for a long time
when he returned from the Pacific
on his way home from WWII
to find a job in Kansas City while my mother
and I waited in Australia with the other
war brides and babies for a liberty ship
to carry us across the ocean to America.
And then Father was silent for a long time—
lost in thought I suppose—
until he was brought back to the present
and he reached into his pocket
and handed me a ticket to Chicago.
“Thanks, Dad,” I said.
And that’s when he shook my hand
and held on for a moment or two
longer than had ever happened
before and I felt he wanted to say
something, but that was the best
he could do. I turned,
walked away and boarded the train
and was off into the darkness,
sitting alone, not knowing
that I had just shared the most
intimate moment that my
father and I would ever have.
Terry Allen lives in Columbia, Missouri and is an Emeritus Professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he taught acting, directing and playwriting. He directed well over a hundred plays during his thirty-eight years of teaching. He now writes poetry and has been published in Fine Arts Discovery, Well Versed, Boston Literary Magazine, and Third Wednesday, among others.