Barack’s mother recalled her memories with her ex-husband and told Barack about her marriage and divorce with him. She didn’t think of him badly. She tried to explain to Barack why they had to choose the divorce. What he heard from his mother that day, speaking about his father, was something that he suspects most Americans will never hear from the lips of those of another race, and so can not be expected to believe might exist between black and white: the love of someone who knows your life in the round, a love that will survive disappointment. She saw her ex-husband as everyone hopes at least one other person might see him; she had tried to help the child who never knew him to see him in the same way.
One day, Barack would meet his father one night, in a cold cell, in a chamber of his dream. His father was before him, with only a cloth wrapped around his waist, he was very thin, with his large head and slender frame, his hairless arms, and chest. He looked pale, his black eyes luminous against an ashen face, but he smiled and gestured for the tall, mute guard to please stand aside. Barack walked up to him and they embraced. His father told him how much he loved his son. He awoke from his dream, and he was still weeping, his real first tears for him-and for himself, his jailor, hid judge, his son. He turned on the light and dug out his old letters. He remembered his only visit-the basketball he had given him and how he had taught him to dance. And he realized, perhaps for the first time, how even in his absence his strong image had given him some bulwark on which to grow up, an image to live up to or disappoint. -p.129, August 29, 2021