Dad I figured it all out, I think. I know what I want. You won't like all the places I want to go, probably. A summer in Texas, a winter in Lausanne, another in Minneapolis or Saint Paul. A spring taking care of children in Capetown. Another taking care of artifacts in Washington.
I'll spend my autumns at home though. I'll always spend my autumns at home.
You won't like, either, the way I don't want to change the world, just my space in it. I want to learn fluent French because it is where I come from. I want to dress in men's shirts and buy myself a small forest green pickup and buy all my furniture at Goodwill, furnish a small house with only half a bathroom and unfinished walls and floors that I have to wallpaper and cover with art. I want a loft that I can fill with stars if I open the window, and a bed full of quilts because it is cold as hell iced over in the winter. And I want a garden in the spring, that I made by myself, with a walkway I paved over by hand.
I don't want to be ambassador to Italy or Russia or Israel anymore, Dad. Or some sort of big whig editor or some sort of beautiful business woman with a sharp tongue. I want a blue collar job, maybe to bartend at the local pub on weeknights and write for the Herald by the article. I want to know what it's like to be tired at the end of the day, everyday, and wake up each morning and still feel it.
And most of all, I want to save up my money and buy myself a little bookshop on Main Street in downtown Somewhere. I want something quiet with good coffee. I want you to visit me and whoever I find to keep my company along the way, and come and see the little children we'll have and the way they'll look just like you. I want you to love me even though I want something old-fashioned and simple and full of just books and tulips that come back each year.
I don't know what you dreamed for me. I don't know if that is what it is, exactly, and you've just been waiting for me to see it. But I want you there to see it, all the same, and to speak crooked second-language French with me, and to tell your grandkids that someday they'll grow out of their quiet and grasp hold of the wit we share.
I want you to know, Dad, that you did something right, I think. That I know what I want. That I'm telling you now just what it is. That I'm telling you now that you'll play a big part. That I love you, and that I'm sorry if any of this is less than what you had hoped.
I figured it all out, though, I think. I figured it all out. Your daughter, Rebecca