What I Wished I Could Have Said

The kid who rang up my groceries last night broke my heart.

Somehow, as he scanned my zucchini and frozen waffles, he got to talking about his mom. How great she is. How she raised him alone. How he owed her everything.

And about how his father abandoned him.

“I can’t wait to have kids of my own,” he said. “Because then I can show my dad what a real father is.”

His smile made dimples tuck into his cheeks. But his eyes were sad.

“One of these days, your dad is going to realize what he missed out on,” I said. “And he’ll have a lot of regret to deal with.”

It was all I could think of.

“Yeah. I hope it hurts him.” He took my stack of coupons. “You know, so he realizes how it felt for me.”

Another customer got into the line. Put frozen pizzas on the belt.

The kid scanned my coupons. Pulled my receipt from the printer.

“Have a nice night,” he said.

“You, too.”

You are a fine young man. Don’t rush into fatherhood. Don’t let the bitterness destroy your goodness. Your mom is probably so proud of you, her heart aches. Break the cycle your dad started. But don’t let him control you. Just be you. You’re worth so much. So much. And the way you talk about your mom? Make sure you find a woman worthy of those words from you. And treat her the way you wanted your dad to treat your mom.

“I hope everything goes well for you,” I said.



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