On one of countless trips to Taksim on the metro, I sat across a father and his grown son. During this ten-minute ride the son became anxious and was moving around in a way that drew attention. As the son’s anxiety rose, his father gently put his arm around his shoulder to calm him. Then the young man started making noises; short, involuntary screams. His father was aware that this might be making people uncomfortable. He took his son’s hand. Every time he screamed, the father kissed his hand.
At Taksim I left the train and got on the escalator. As we ascended I looked up and saw another man and his grown son on the way down. The father was on the higher step and his son the step below. The dad had one hand on his son’s shoulder and the other hand resting on his head. His grown son would face forward then turn to look into his father’s face. He did this over and over again. Every time the son looked back at him, the father would nod his head and rub the top of his son’s head with his hand.
Are you there? Are you still there? His father would nod, and rub his son’s head. Every time.
Yes, I know what you mean. I’m also a child the Father dotes on.
When I lose control, when I fail, when I’m beside myself and act like a jerk, he kisses me on the cheek. Back in his arms, he runs to my defense. “You can see, she really is a gentle child.” On those days he holds my hair back while I vomit. He never lets go of my hand. He waits. Never turns away; not in anger, not in embarrassment, not in disgust. Instead he enters my illness. He puts up with the stench of it for Love of me. There is no explanation for it. Except that he is Good and there’s something in me that is eternally worthy of his Love.