Sunday, August 8, 2010

Another of my essay endorsed by teacher

As the sombre atmospheric setting of the funeral loomed over me, I could not help but feel very sorry for Frank. He was 61 years old, badly ailing of bone cancer that had gripped him for the past five years, and now is resting peacefully in that pinewood coffin in front of the altar of Jesus. Congregations of mourning relatives, friends and former corporate members regardless of bosses, peers or his employees came and went by to pay their last respects to Frank. Yet of all the people that came, I failed to set my eyes on this man most treasured and loved by Frank throughout his life – his son Danny.

I had been a close friend of Frank since we were still minors, unimportant apprentices in the marketing department of Procter & Gamble. Although I progressed quite late in my career to become what I am now, Frank made it to the top of the corporate ladder quite fast. This is mainly to the business acumen that I would say is his natural talent, as well as his wholehearted devotion to his career. Unfortunately, Frank devoted too much attention to that part of his life that he failed to balance it with his priorities for his own family. Sad to say, Danny is a direct victim of this circumstance.

Throughout his childhood, Danny is always thirsty – not for water, but for his father’s love, care and attention. Sadly that is what Frank seemed to always fail to do. I can still recall that on the day Danny was delivered in the maternity ward 29 years ago Frank was not around, but traveling for a conference in Brazil. He was also not there with his family when Danny first learn to talk and walk. I could also remember that Frank himself told me how he bought a rare collection baseball for his son. Danny liked it very much but when he asked Frank to teach him to throw the baseball, Frank declined, citing that he had to return to office to meet a business partner from China. Looking from Danny’s perspective, I think I could at least partially understand what emotional impact he was going through. He must have hated his dad for neglecting the only child that his father ever had.

As Danny grew into a young adult, Frank always seemed to be depressed and frequently expressed his feelings to me. It seemed that Danny had grown into a man just like Frank, feeling no importance to spend his time and forming rapport with his father. After succeeding with flying colours in college, Frank decided to take Danny for a celebration at a fine-dining eatery but Danny declined, instead asking for Frank’s car keys so that he could have some fun with his college mates. As Danny progressed into working adult with his own family, there was not a single memorable moment that Frank ever remembered that Danny ever spent quality time with him. Frank once asked Danny to come home but again Danny refused, saying that he was busy with work and that his son was down with the flu. This chain of events clearly showed the turning of the table. Frank was dismayed, all the way into our retirement age.

Then came the time when Frank got cancer. The cancer ate through his bones but never to the love that Frank possessed towards his Danny boy. He tried to contact Danny many times but it seems that Danny had changed his number and had moved to some other place, telling neither Frank nor his other relatives. We tried to track Danny down but to no avail. I was disappointed that Danny never showed up. I was disappointed that Frank never got his last wish to see the face of his beloved son before he died. Now here he is, in that pinewood coffin in front of the altar of Jesus, resting before the hand of God. With sadness, I watch all the proceedings of the funeral until the end nears.

Then came the moment when everybody had paid their respects and the coffin was about to be closed. Suddenly a man rushed into the hall of the church, hurried and wearing that horrified look on his face. I immediately recognized the young man – it was Danny. Drama ensued as he rushed to the coffin, prostrated and cried out loud towards his dead father. He kissed his father for the last time and professed his love and regret for treating his father badly throughout his life. Deep in my heart, I was relieved that Danny at last met his father with true unconditional love, although it was a little bit too late.