Date: June 18th, 2015 11:53 PM
As we proceeded down the corridor of the Shelter, we passed a door caked in dust. Against this soft accretion of time, I could make out certain capital characters within its steel frame: "P____CT L_SKO" Beneath it, etched in red-scrawl cursive: "Hope of _h_ Fre_ W_rl_"
Curiosity piqued, I tugged my father's hand, halting our forward march to the substation. Looking up toward him as he towered above me in his soot-stained coveralls, I asked in a soft voice "Papa, what's in this room?"
To this day, I've not forgotten my father's face as he met my glance. He was a stern man, raised in a Midwest of honest summers' farm field work, cold winter nights spent in scripture, tall taciturn men gathered 'round the supper table. He'd been hewn in the suffering of the First Exodus. Never one to cry or complain; he was the rock upon which our family had endured.
But that morning, my father's eyes were damp sad things--the puddled pools of a broken man. His face was screwed into the worry lines of one possessed by an old, deep hurt. "That, my boy ..." he hesitated, faltered. The swirling steam rose up around us through the grey-grated floor. Starting again, finding the words this time, "that, my boy, was something we believed in. Something that gave us hope. But that was a long time ago. And we were foolish to search for a savior. Now let's go. We'll both of us be late."
He pulled me forward, leaving the dusty door behind.