He’s going to take a small vacation—a hiatus, so to speak—
but his family has mixed feelings toward what it is he’ll seek.
He says he must discover the words to his own song,
but they wonder why it is that they cannot sing along.
It seems this is one journey that he must make alone.
They can’t Skype him from their laptops. They can’t call him on the phone.
Organization for his journey will be strictly alphabetical,
making for a travel plan that is less theoretical
but based on whimsey—something that’s been missing from his life
since he embarked on his career and since he took a wife.
He might start with Algeria, Australia or Agora.
And next choose Bangladesh, Berlin or Bora Bora.
Then he’ll take a plane to Cuba, to Columbia or Crete.
Until he’s finished the whole alphabet, his trip won’t be complete.
What he’ll learn on this journey, they’ll have to wait and see.
“This journey’s not for you,” he says. “This journey’s just for me.”
He’s retiring from his family for a year or two.
“I’ll be a different man,” he says, “when I come back to you.”
His family can’t believe it when he commences packing,
and when he’s gone, at first they feel that he’s sorely lacking.
But after a few months, the hole he’s left just slowly fills.
The kids take problems to Grandpa, and Mother pays the bills.
His son enrolls for driver’s ed and learns to drive the car.
A new guy comes to town to fill his old spot at the bar.
At dinner parties now his wife becomes the handy single,
so she can pick and choose occasions wherein she can mingle.
The TV’s set on programs other than golf and fights,
and no one ever chides them to turn off all the lights.
His daughters’ dates don’t have to meet with him to be okayed.
His wife does not consult on each and every purchase made.
Slowly, all his family feels less and less bereft.
After a year they barely remember that he’s left.
So when after two years they hear a key turn in the lock
one night approaching midnight, it’s somewhat of a shock
to find their old dad home again–bearded, stooped and worn,
long locks descending from a head formerly neatly shorn.
No arms reach out to greet him. No shouts of joy are heard.
They find his presence strange and his appearance most absurd.
When he sees they’re watching “Dancing with the Stars,” he’s clearly shaken,
and he’s crushed they are not curious about the path he’s taken.
In every empty room, there are still lightbulbs glistening,
but when he starts to chide them, he finds no one is listening.
When he goes to check his car, he finds that it is missing.
He hears noises in what was his den and finds his wife who’s kissing
a stranger he’s not seen before. Has his whole life gone crazy?
He takes some time off for himself and things go upsy daisy?
Then, finally, the truth hits. While off looking for himself,
it seems that his whole family has placed him on a shelf.
His son has commandeered the car, his daughters came and go,
never introducing their dad to any beau.
His old job has been filled and his family’s fine without him.
Even buddies at the bar seem somehow to doubt him.
He sleeps down in the basement while some guy sleeps in his bed.
He’s been divorced for desertion, or so the papers said.
His wife’s new husband’s given him a week to pack his stuff
and head once more into the world, where living will be rough.
All those years he quested to find out more about him,
it seems to be the truth that his life went on without him.
So though he found himself at last, there’s no place where he fits.
Having a self with no place left to put it is the pits!!