Jimmy grew up thinking that a woman was always more capable of showing more love than a man. That being a man mean’t you had to be stoic. And hard. And short of breath from your day of labour. You can’t blame Jimmy. It’s all he was taught and knew. From growing up in St. Albans with his father to the latest run of failed relationships and failed jobs. A failure of a man – so he thought.
Joy struck him one day. A rare but familiar feeling that usually came only twice a year, on his birthday and on Christmas Eve – Christmas Day, even with the banquet was too unpalatable – with all the chores and people and disappointment. But joy struck Jimmy thrice this year.
When the letter came in the mail, addressed to him with the initials R.J.D inscribed on the underside of the envelope, Jimmy’s ideas of manhood would change forever.
“… Be like I have tried. And trust me, for I have no doubt this is how a gentleman should be.
… Don’t follow trends, follow your heart. Don’t act a fool for some cheap laughter; folks don’t remember the cheap pair of shoes they bought on a whim, they cherish the shoes they had to work for. Folks think of people the same.
… Nor should you follow a woman’s want simply to gain admiration. It will come. Admiration will always follow action. It comes second. Be it in love or in life.
… Be who you are with these words in mind. And give. Above all else, give.
… I will die soon and I know this to be true.”
At once and forever, Jimmy took the words of his grandfather into practise. On seeing his grandfather for the last time, Jimmy thanked him: “You will live on, your words will live in me. I promise.”
Jimmy had a remaining question for his grandfather. It would go unanswered should he not ask it now. “You’ve never written to me before. I’d’ve loved to hear those words from your mouth or from your pen years ago. Why did it take this long for you to tell me?”
His grandfather replied: “Because it took that long to find out.”
Written 22nd January 2016