I wipe my hands with my last handkerchief. I feel the cold sweat on my back, as I realize I have ran out of them. I need two more handkerchiefs.
I don’t want to look crazy the first time we meet, after the separation. Hard as I try to swallow my panic, you can’t help but notice my trembling hands, as I take a picture of the snow. Have you noticed? Falling snowflakes seem like white sticks on photos.
“Only if you don’t have the settings right,” you answer. You must have learned so many things since I last saw you.
I think it’s only the snowflakes feeling awkward. They’d rather look longer and thinner. Perhaps, they’d rather be raindrops instead. On this awkward moment, I wish I was some one else too. A proper father, with steady hands, a steady life and a steady mind. I wish I was wiser, like a father should.
I tie my shoelaces as fast as I can. If I’m quick enough, the germs won’t have time to reach my hands. The eternal unresolved riddle: how fast are they?
I open my arms and you run into them.
“Hugs are nice for a change,” you say. The thought I had to leave you in a minefield is killing me. In a house made of pretension and indifferent smiles. The next mine you step on, might kill the child in you.
I kneel by your side, throw away the used handkerchief and hand you the present. Here we are: two awkward snowflakes, shining remnants of a wasted love, facing each other, wishing things were different.
“I’m too old for that kind of stuff,” you tell me with the certainty of an older man.
Are you really? I’m happy for you. Getting too old so young.
I still haven’t grown too old for this.
And I’m already your father.
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Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist, living and working in Athens, Greece. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, such as The Molotov Cocktail, Foliate Oak, Maudlin house, Menacing Hedge, Midnight Circus, AntipodeanSF, Big Echo:Critical SF, Jellyfish Review and others.