The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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When I asked him what his dream job as he had a short pause. This question seems to be of big importance to Mike and this memory was something that affected his life. He had a tough choice whether to go into his dream job or to follow his father's request.

Every day, Mike’s father honked his police car when he got back from work. Every time Mike heard this noise, a smile grew from his face. He was always proud of his father for his occupation. During Mike’s father's 20th year as a policeman, he had been coming home stressed. Whenever Mike asks “what’s wrong?” his father responds with “I’m fine.” Mike, being young and naive, carried on with his day thinking of how to achieve his dream as a policeman. 

A couple of years later, Mike had just finished registering for the New York City police exam. He was excited to surprise his father by telling him that he could be a policeman just like him one day. Mike waits patiently for his father to arrive home and out of the silence, he hears the honk from his father's police car. He watches as his father walks out of his vehicle towards the front door. The door creaks and all that Mike could see was his father's hairy hand opening the door. Then his face emerges from behind the wall blocking his father. Mike sees his father in his blue police outfit just as tired coming home from an exhausting day or work.

Coming up to his father with a giddy voice, “I got a surprise for you Dad.”

From the expression of his son, he gets just as excited as well. “Oh really? What is it?” 

“I just applied for the New York City police exam. If I pass this exam, I can become a police officer like you.” All of a sudden, a frown appears on his father’s face and the room becomes quiet. A serious look on his father appeared. A low calming voice breaks the silence.

“Take a seat son.” Mike sits down slowly while giving his father a very confused look as if he had done something wrong. 

“If you take that test, I’ll never talk to you again.”

The words ring through Mike’s ear expecting a completely different reaction.  Even more confused, Mike quickly asks “Why?”

“I don’t want any family member to go into this profession.” What his father said absolutely was a stab to Mike’s heart. 

Violently, Mike asks “Why can’t I be like you?” 

With the same violent tone, his father backfires with “Police officers aren’t appreciated as to how they were back then.” A long pause then appears and no sound is made for a while. The conversation then ends with Mike disappointedly slouching towards his room in disbelief. Sadness, anger, confusion, These emotions were all over Mike’s room.

 “I’m going to take that exam no matter what,” Mike whispers to himself

When the testing day came, Mike was prepared to take the exam. After sweat and hard work, Mike had finally completed the exam and was given the good news of him passing the test. Right before he was given his own police uniform, he thought back to why he wanted to become a police officer and declined to take the uniform. 

Unexpectedly, his father was watching him the whole time through the exam and came up to his son. As Mike finally noticed his father, he started to panic. Many thoughts were flying through his head. “I disobeyed him and took the exam anyway. Does he know I declined the police uniform? Is he about to unleash hell on me?” Mike thought to himself hard while his heart was beating even harder than after the exam. All of a sudden he notices something was on his father's face.

With tears coming down his face, he wraps his arms around Mike and says “Thank you, son, for honoring my request.”

Policeman

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1980
New York, PA

When I asked him what his dream job as he had a short pause. This question seems to be of big importance to Mike and this memory was something that affected his life. He had a tough choice whether to go into his dream job or to follow his father's request.

Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by Anthony Trinh on June 2, 2020
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