I was puzzled, and my father studied my face intently as our breakfast arrived. I found that I wasn't hungry, so I just picked at my food.
"Melissa, not everything is what it appears to be." I looked at him, wondering if he knew why the men were trading their suitcases. "I have something to tell you," he added, "and it's really important." His tone was suddenly very serious, and the look in his eyes mirrored it. My stomach dropped again, but this time even harder and deeper. What was wrong? I had to look away from his piercing eyes. I wanted to sink into the vinyl bench as deep as I could to avoid this feeling.
"What do you have to tell me?" I asked after a long, uncomfortable silence.
"I can't tell you, sweetie," he said, looking down for the first time since we had started the conversation. Emotion after emotion crossed his face, and I could tell he was having some sort of battle in his own mind. Despite the rock in the pit of my stomach, I was morbidly curious. I thought about all the things my father willingly told me that I had finally realized most fathers generally did not tell their children. What could he possibly not tell me?
"What, Dad?" I asked, gently. I thought of his admission of contemplating suicide a few months ago. I thought I shouldn't sweep this under the rug. What if I was the only person he could talk to? "What is it?"
I was not prepared for what came out of his mouth next.