Up until I was ten years old, my father had been my hero. Despite my father working long and tiresome hours, he never neglected my sister and me. Every Saturday morning at Wilson Park, in the quiet streets of Torrance, California there would be a farmers’ market. My father would always take us there as a simple getaway from our less than perfect lives. This somehow became a tradition between my father and me. It was an event that at as child, I would count down the days waiting for. However, after my parents’ bitter divorced when I was ten, the tradition suddenly came to an abrupt end. I never saw my father after the night he stormed from our broken home and sped down the street.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
For the next five years, I never saw him again nor did I did I ever revisit to the park. Although it was only a walking distance from my house, I could not bare the thought of returning to the park without my father by my side. Despite my extensive effort to evade the park, it was evitable for me to drive past it. Every time I was forced take a glimpse of the shadows in the park, I would reminisce about the way the chilly air hung over the park on the early mornings, and how the trees surrounded the perimeter of the park engendering a sense of assurance. My memories would flash back to the same set of swings that my father would always push his baby girls in. My mind would wander to the tennis courts next to the swings, where I used to gaze at my father play his favorite sport. On the other side of the swings, there was a full-size basketball court. It was on this exact court that my father taught me to dribble a basketball. I can still remember the proud smile on his face that day. These recollections brought a shooting pain to my heart and throbbing pound in my stomach. So for years, I never stepped foot onto the park again…
It was an unpleasantly cold summer morning in Southern California when my sister and I decided to take a jog to this park. For the first time in five years, I decided to face my haunting childhood. It was a long and torturous ten minute jog to the park. As I approached the crowded tents at the memorable farmers’ market, I heard a familiar voice call my name. The voice belonged to a man. I whipped my head around to see who was shouting my name, and I was staggered. I couldn’t believe my eyes as the man walked towards me. This was the man who I revered as my superman, whom I loved with all my innocent heart, and was the same man that abandoned my mother and me.
Thousands of other people may have their own superfluous vacation where they have traveled to. However, after this particular incident, I can humbly pronounce Charles H. Wilson Park as the most beautiful place in this vast universe. This seemingly mundane recreational area is available to the public regardless of financial circumstances. It has the capability to unite the entire community. In my case, it reunited my father and I. Wilson Park was my boundless playground when I was a child, and my greatest source of fear and pain as a young adult. This park has not only given me the opportunity to reconcile with my father, but it has also taught me to triumph my tribulations.
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