Scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, books, pictures, and the occasional history magazines were strewn all over my bed. This is how I’d spent my afternoons after school when not interning at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Between school, homework, and an internship, I led a pretty busy life. Sure, it wasn’t the glamorous life teenagers want, but it was as close to reaching my goals as I could get. The past year had been a year filled with tears and unhappiness. I’d lost my father to cancer. When he was diagnosed with cancer we all had a rough go of it. A history professor at New York University, he always saw the bright side of things. It wasn’t bright for Mom and me. A nurse stayed with my father as I came from school and while mom was at work. When the nurse’s shift was over, Mom and I would help.
Dad and I would sit in our living room together. Cuddled up, we would watch old movies together. Dad always liked old movies especially those from the fifties. His favorite? Rebel Without A Cause starring James Dean. Dad loved James Dean and that of course is where I got my admiration for him. I think Daddy always liked James, not only because his name was also James, but also for what he represented. James Dean was the epitome of freedom and being carefree. Dad was a free-spirited person, but he was very dedicated to his studies since he started school. I guess that’s where I get it. Secretly Dad wanted to be like Dean in his youth; he never got the chance and never would.
I laughed, remembering the first time we sat down together to watch Rebel Without A Cause. I could remember Dad’s distinct laughter that just made you break into a smile or laugh with him. Dad was laughing because of the way my eyes seemed to pop out of my head when I saw the opening scene when Dean was drunk and laying on the ground. I saw the magnificence that Dad had told me about all those years. I understood why Dean was so popular and why he would continue to be. Dad patted my hand and leaned over to kiss me on the head. “I knew that you would like him.” From there every afternoon before Mom would get home was spent together cuddled up on the sofa watching old movies and talking about James Dean. Dad shared his books and movies about him with me. I got to know a side of my dad that even I had not known about. I loved my dad and this gave me something of his to hold on to after his death.
Denise Alicea is the owner of The Pen & Muse. A blog dedicated to promoting authors of all different genres and place to talk all things writing. She is also a writer, trainer, and volunteer who loves Apple products.