The man I spoke with exhibited great composure. The briefest hesitation in his speech indicated each word was a premeditated choice. Standing 6’4”, he could have been an intimidating presence, instead he filled the space he occupied with quiet confidence. This posture and his neatly shaved black hair told the tale of his military career. His openness was only betrayed by the dark eyes that kept direct contact to a minimum, as if there are still many secrets held within.
His thick neck and bulging arms appeared to be hard-won and reflected many hours in a gym. He reclined in his chair like a gentle giant ready to spring into action, exuding a sureness that no action would be required. The open casualness in his posture indicated that he had embraced who he was mentally and physically. Quick to smile and eager to see the humor in life, he talked about his work, his plans and dreams about his future with a voice rooted deep in his soul.
There were traces of his youth in the way he still could not hold your gaze for long and in the way he rubbed the side of his head when thinking. The seven-year old I had met for the first time fourteen years ago, still lived in this large man. Like it was yesterday, I can picture the slim figure, shoulders drooped, head bent. Like a tightly wound spring, he was coiled into himself. The nervous energy held with in the bent figure could be felt like a force field. Slowly through time, I could mark the unfolding and blossoming of this young boy. It seemed like he grew about 6 inches in a matter of a few months. The internal growth demonstrated by a head now held high. Shoulders back, he became ready to challenge the world, rather than shrink from its onslaught.
Through the vast distance, bridged by the internet, he showed me his new apartment. The tour a testimony to the achievement he felt and a signal that he was at home. At home, grounded, and secure, after many years adrift, battered by waves of both his own making and those created by circumstance.
After many years I had finally met the man my son was meant to be.