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The mild summer air was refreshing against my hot skin as I pedaled over the divots and cracks in the sidewalk. My legs pumped furiously as I tried to keep pace with the man ahead of me. His tall, dark silhouette was perched on the bike with the easy confidence that simply emanates from him with everything he does. The bright lights of oncoming traffic caught the edge of his thin rimmed glasses, causing a fleeting glare. His salt and pepper hair and raggedy t-shirt became my beacon, the light that I followed to our destination. This is my father, the man that I have placed on a pedestal since my childhood, and the one person who will forever let me down. My eyes have been opened to his actions, my expectations of him close to none, but yet I continue on, following in his wake and finally coming to a stop in front of a small diner. It is well past midnight, but there are still a few straggling souls, their expressions distant as they recede into the troubles of their minds. The door shuts behind us with the gentle tinkle of bells. My father slides easily up to the counter as I find my place beside him. We order black and white milkshakes, our favorite, and sip them leisurely as we survey the scene around us. We talk about nothing and everything all at once. We talk about life and love and the ridiculous plights of our large, histrionic family. He makes me laugh until tears stream down my face. My father can always make me laugh. We finish our treat, and he offers a generous tip and his crooked smile as we depart, back into the night.

These are the memories I choose to keep with me when it comes to my father. Just like these brief summer adventures, his presence in my life is fleeting at best, but always brings the hope that our situation, for that ephemeral moment in time, holds the promise of better days. I could be bitter because he left, I could be angry because he doesn’t call, I could be so many things; yet I have chose this memory , and countless others, to hold close to my heart. I would rather remember him for the things he has given me, than the things he has taken away. By doing this, I have learned to persevere, that out of every negative situation there is always something positive to be taken away from it. My father, inadvertently, has made me come to realize that I want so much more for myself than what he has provided. I want to excel in whatever aspect I can; I want to see new places, meet new people, and ultimately do what I love. In seeing his wasted talent, all of his potential thrown to the wayside, I have developed a passion for learning and a drive to rival that of many people I come across. He has aided me in realizing all I have to offer, and provided the fire to push me toward my goals, and for that, I thank him.