There was so much I still wanted to do.
It was our last day in D.C.
I was on a Scout trip.
We had flown to New York. We spent a day and a night and most of the next day there.
We took a train to Philadelphia. We spent the night there.
The next day we drove to D.C.
The first two days we saw the monuments around the Mall. The Capitol. Arlington Cemetery. The Museum of American History.
For some reason my roommates had decided our last day would be a good day to sleep in.
I had a map.
I knew how to use the Metro.
I was off.
My first stop was the Air & Space Museum.
Then the National Archives.
Hard Rock Cafe.
Then back to the hotel.
The rest of our group was waiting for me.
I hadn’t told anyone what I was doing.
Apparently they’d been worried about me.
I was pretty sheltered as a kid.
My dad died when I was three.
My mom kept me home most of the time. I was happy there, so I didn’t mind.
In the LDS church young men are expected to serve a full-time mission for two years. At that time they would go at age nineteen.
I was afraid of being on my own for that long.
I’d been on my own at scout camps and events, but that was it.
I was afraid of being far from home.
I had always wanted to get married. That seemed a lot safer, and I’d always been romantically inclined.
I had a plan.
Right after high school I would go to college for a year. While I was there I would find someone to marry.
Never mind that I had never gone out on a date before.
Never mind that I was afraid to even talk to girls.
My plan was foolproof.
What could possibly go wrong?
I was three.
I only have a handful of memories about him.
After he died my male role models were my grandpas and Mister Rogers.
When I got older my Scout leaders became role models, too.
I wonder how I’d be different if my dad had lived. Would I be more masculine? Would I be a better father?
I used to worry that my sons wouldn’t be masculine enough because of me. I don’t worry about that anymore.