The bible had been in a damp, dirty shed for many, many, years and its condition was as bad as the place it had been stored in.
My mom handed it to me as if I would want it for some reason…I didn’t even want to touch it.
“I have some dry ones”, I said sarcastically.
“It has an inscription in it”, she replied.
The name embossed in gold took me aback for a moment…it was a name that used to be mine.
It was mine through the second grade, in the third grade it was taken away and I had to learn to spell and write the odd new name I had been given.
One name belonged to a man who would never see me again, the other to one who would wish he never had.
Hard stuff for an eight year old boy…
If you can’t be who you used to be and you don’t know who you are now, life is full of internal confusion and conflict.
You want to tell everyone that you are somebody, but you don’t know who that somebody is.
You spend the rest of your life trying to figure it out.
I opened up the book to the pages where you inscribe the date, and to who it was given, and from who the gift came.
Date: Christmas 1966
It was his mothers handwriting.
It was a lie written in beautiful cursive, perhaps with the best intentions, but a lie nonetheless.
I was no longer that person, I had no “Daddy”, and I hated those lies and the book they were written in.
I closed the tattered book on my lap, but I’ve never been able to close the book on that part of my life.
I will buy Trey a bible for Christmas.
I will stamp the only name he will ever have on its cover and I will sign it from “Daddy” with my own hand and through my own tears.
He will always know who he is and who I am and he will know that he’s loved.
That’s the only way I can close the tattered book on my lap forever… and I’ve still got some dry ones of my own.
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