1985

I staggered,
Wrapping myself inside my invisible cloak,
Struggling through the buffeting wind,
Sharp raindrops burning my eyes.

Well-intentioned, thoughtless,
Sharp blades piercing the soul,
If only I could hide from those words,
I’m sorry.

1985

James Wheeler

Halifax, United States

  • Artist
    Notes

Artist's Description

I was once a fourteen year old, living in small town America. My Dad passed away, taken by a heart attack out of the blue.

Wednesday afternoon, I was called out to the hallway from shop class, and my brother-in-law said, “James, I’m sorry, but your Dad is dead…”

The only thing I could think of… “I wonder how bad the truck is wrecked?”

He didn’t have the sniffles that morning… How could he be gone now?

The first dozen “I’m sorry”s where taken pretty rough… but I knew they were heartfelt, and so life went on.

By Friday, I couldn’t stand it anymore… the silence where he should have been, the cakes and food and “I’m Sorry” all over the place… I thought I’d escape to school.

And there? My class of 43, plus the rest of the students between 7th and 12th who all attended classes in the same building, and all the staff… I am sure most of them at some point that day made their way to me to say “I’m sorry”

By the end of the day, I wanted to yell at them or … something. But instead, I wrapped myself inside the cloak of protection, mumbled “It’s okay”, and somehow, life went on.

Somehow, for years and years, I’ve had this picture in my mind of that day, of storms, wind, hitting me, and me having to stagger through it – and although I could visualize it, it wasn’t until recently that someone inspired me to write those words down.

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