Excerpt: 'The Last Goodnights'

I heard him exhale slowly, and I thought I could see his shoulders relax. He didn't say anything for a few seconds, but I could tell he was concentrating, thinking how to respond. He glanced at me, then looked back at the road and said very quietly, "Thank you, Johnny. You don't know how much that relieves my mind."

Then we had to stop at a red light, the last light before we entered the LAX causeway for departing passengers. As we sat there waiting, I heard him sigh, and then the sigh turned into a sob, and I looked over and saw a tear roll down his cheek just before he reached up and wiped it away. It was the only time in my life I ever saw him cry.

Then the light turned green and we drove on in silence. I pointed out the terminal, and Jolly maneuvered the car over to the curb and stopped. We both got out and he came around to my side, his eyes still a little moist. He put his arms out and we hugged, and again he said, "Thank you."

I picked up my briefcase. "Well . . . I love you, Dad."

"I love you too," he said.

And then I had to go.

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