It seems strange to write that word. I know that we only met so very recently. But I'm glad we did. I hope you don't mind my calling you Dad. I can't very well call you Control, now, can I? Simon pointed out that that might be a rather dangerous thing to do. So I've decided to refer to you as my Dad. I really hope you don't mind. I'm repeating myself already. Sorry about that.
It's kind of funny, you know? No, I guess you wouldn't know, would you? When I was about ten or so, Mom and I had just moved again, the third time to a new city in less than a year. It was hard for me. I mean, I've always been small, it was worse when I was younger. Heck, it's still hard, sometimes. At least now I have enough going for me that I don't get quite so upset any more. Anyway. We had just moved again, and there I was, the new kid in school in some small town. Smaller than the other kids in class. Picked on, as usual. I was pretty good at obfuscation and embellishment already. When someone asked how come we moved so much, I made up what I thought was a good story. Funny thing, it turns out that it's the truth, at least partly.
There were half a dozen of them. All bigger and older than me. I'd skipped fourth grade, so I was already at a disadvantage, physically. I mean, I was small for a fifth grader, and there I was in the sixth grade. Anyway, they had me cornered on the playground. The biggest one asked me where my Dad was. I had to come up with something fast. I told them we had to move frequently because my Dad was a spy, and it wasn't safe for us to stay any one place for very long. They believed me. Every couple of weeks, I'd take some story out of the newspaper and pretend that my Dad had been involved. I remember one story about a miraculous rescue of some diplomats in the middle east. I told them that my Dad had been in charge of the mission. There was another story about some terrorists in Nigeria, and drug smugglers from Bolivia. I made up an awful lot of stories about you. How you got some important plans out of the Kremlin, or captured an important Soviet Spy. You probably think it was silly, but it kept me from getting beat up that year. When we moved the following summer, I was kind of sad. I had actually made some pretty good friends there. At least they never found out that I was lying. Only, now, it turns out that I might have been telling the truth. What were you doing eighteen years ago?
No. I guess I don't really need to know. That is how your business works, isn't it? On a 'need to know' basis? I don't suppose I need to know. But if you ever feel like telling me what you were doing then, I'd be willing to listen. In fact, if you ever feel like talking, I'd be willing to listen. I still can't get over the fact that you're my father. I mean, we actually worked together, well, sort of, twice before you found out that we were related.
I've been reading about your father. He was a remarkable man. From what I can tell, you're a lot like him. I wish I could have met him, but, like so many things, it isn't possible. At least I have you. If you want me, that is. I don't really expect anything. No strings or anything. OK? I mean...Oh, darn. What do I mean? I'm not even sure, myself.
I guess what I'm saying, is, I want to know you. I hope you want to know me. I guess that's all I wanted to say.
He almost didn't send it. He had it addressed and laying on the kitchen table. Jim noticed it, and not knowing any better, put a stamp on it and mailed it. When he realised what had happened, Blair felt terribly embarrassed. What if he didn't want to know him? What if what had happened before had just been being polite? He put it out of his mind and tried to forget about it.
He saw the letter in the pile of mail on the floor when he entered his apartment. Curious, he looked at it, noticing the postmark. Smiling, he put the other mail aside, and taking the letter, he didn't even bother to remove his suit jacket before settling down and opening the letter.
He didn't bother wiping the tears the letter brought to his eyes. He leaned back and smiled. If he wanted to. As if there were any doubt. Of course, the letter was proof of those doubts. He looked around his apartment, thinking. Smiling when he came to a decision. Surprised by how easy that decision had been to make.
He stood and moved to the phone. Finally loosening his tie and removing his jacket. Smiling at the thought of his son wearing a suit and tie. Shaking his head at the absurdity of it. Picking up the phone and punching in a number that he had memorised the first time he had seen it.
"Is Blair there?"
Jim paused, recognising the voice. "Yes, sir, he is. Let me get him."
"Thank you." He didn't bother to correct his nephew's calling him 'sir'. They had too much history for that to change over night.
"It's for you, Chief." He held out the phone.
Blair looked at the clock, wondering who could be calling him at six p.m. on a Saturday. Jim's expression gave nothing away. "Hello? This is Blair Sandburg."
"I got your letter."
Blair's heart started pounding. "Oh. I...uh, oh." Voice trailing into oblivion.
"The stories you made up. You may have been telling more truth than you could ever imagine." He chuckled, referring to the letter. "I've been all those places. Done those things."
"Yeah. Really." He paused. "I very much want you in what's left of my life, son. I called to tell you that. Had I known, I'd have been involved. I want you to believe that. Ask Jim. He'll tell you that I've never lied to him. I promise I won't ever lie to you. Understand?"
"Yes, sir." Voice barely a whisper.
He thought for a moment, how to word it? "Look, I'm going to be busy for a while, but I want to come out there for a visit. Or you can come here. I...I want to get to know you better. OK?"
His heart leapt. "You really mean it?"
"I don't say things I don't mean, son. I never have. I never will."
Son. He called me son. He started bouncing. Drawing the amused attention of his roommate, who only raised his eyebrows at him in question. "Oh. OK. I want to get to know you, too. You know?"
"Yes. I do."
"Do you mind?"
"Me calling you Dad?"
"I wouldn't have it any other way." His love for his son starting as a warm spot over his heart and spreading throughout his entire being. "I love you, son."
Tears flowing down his cheeks, Blair replied, "I love you too, Dad."