Hullo all. Below the photo is a short….something, that I wrote this morning. It’s been critiqued by a couple of lovely people, and I have been wavering on whether or not to share it here, but obviously I’ve decided.
Clearly some of my depression (okay, lots) has it’s root in my father’s death. Since today is his birthday, this is a short…something, about him. And me.
If nothing else, it’s free reading, right? A warning: This is not a funny blog post, or a particularly happy one, and it lacks my usual flippancy. It’s sad. I’ve been told it’s not depressing, and might even cause a warm fuzzy feeling or two, but it’s sad. So if you’re having a shitty morning, maybe just give this a miss.
And now, onward with the posting.
My alarm went off a few seconds ago. I remember it beeping insistently; I don’t remember turning it off. This means I have one hundred and twenty seconds before it starts again.
I’m drifting back into sleep, but not fully. This is the place between asleep and awake, where the boundary between the living and the dead is thin, and I can cross from one to the other without effort. I let my eyes drift shut and fall into the dream.
I’m in my truck. It’s a blue Ford pickup, just like the one sitting outside my bedroom window in the driveway. I park on the side of the road facing the wrong way, as I’m wont to do when Im lazy and the roads are quiet.
To my right is a park. I take in the lush green of the grass, the immaculate fencing, the log-cabin style shelter at one end; one wall is missing so I can see inside. Across the road (and parked correctly), my father is getting out of a deep red convertible. It looks just like the Buick Fifth Avenue we had in the nineties, if someone had cut the roof off. It’s not a flashy car, and there’s no doubt that it belongs to my father.
I smile and wave and jog across the road to him. He smiles back, a little crooked as always, a little mischievous – as though he’s about to tell a joke. My father nearly always had a smile on his face. I saw him cry three times in twenty-five years. The first is such a faint memory that it’s almost not there.
He says something but I forget it instantly. We walk together to the park, arm in arm, the only oddity. Dad and I had a lot of love and genuine affection, but we never touched easily.
In the park, there are a bunch of dogs playing and being trained. The woman leading them has long, swinging, dark-blonde hair. Her name is Carolyn. She is teaching my Dad to train dogs. He kneels as a Basset Hound runs over to him and scratches the dog’s ears. When he stands, he snaps his fingers and our dog Lucy runs to him. She died when I was eighteen, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi with all the pride and chutzpah that comes with being fifteen inches tall and certain of your royal status.
The second time I saw my father cry was when we lost this dog.
I hug Dad tightly. I have to go. He Takes Lucy’s leash in his hand and she trots ahead of him to the Buick boat-of-a-convertible. Carolyn is waiting in the passenger seat. She has places to take him. He has a lot to learn.
I wake up with tears running down my cheeks.
I have the feel of his hand in mine as I say my last goodbye. My last “I love you,” surrounded by hospital walls, echoes in my ears. I remember his blue eyes on mine.
This is the memory of the third and last time I saw my father cry.
I’m tired, but awake. I silence the alarm and see that only two minutes have passed. Dad’s quirk of a smile hovers on the edge of my memory as I glance at the date on my clock and, whispering, wish him a happy birthday. I smile, a smile that reaches my own blue eyes.