Monday, April 6, 2009

And just like that, he's gone. My handsome, stubborn dad was stolen from this earth by the hands of some young brutal coward. I forgive you, dad, for everything. I know you weren't innocent. I struggled for two decades trying to relate to you. I struggled for two decades trying to forgive you for the person you were and for the person you weren't. The most important thing in the world to me is that we ended our struggle on our own terms three or four months ago, and I finally felt like your daughter again. You have my heart in a kung-fu grip, dad. You spent the last four months of your life reminding me everyday, "I love you Jezebel." I had to delete those voicemails after your funeral the other day. There were probably ten or more, just you, rambling. They always ended the same way. I can look at your pictures right now, but I can't hear your voice. My ribs feel like they're cracking, like my heart is just swelling and bursting behind them, when I hear your voice played back over my phone. You and those vocal chords are gone.

Everyone's got something to say about where you went. Nana thinks you're in heaven, saving her a seat. Johnny thinks you're watching over him every time he sinks the basketball into the net; you're still at his games, you're the reason he scored that time. Your wife thinks you're coming home, she's only dreaming, this can't be real because she can still smell you on the pillows. I even heard some biker at your benefit dinner say you're probably sitting at the bar in hell, trying to buy the devil a drink.

But me? I know where you are. You're home. Home is nowhere. You aren't anywhere, but it sure feels like you are. I'd like to feel safe and comfortable and say a prayer to you hoping you're up in the sky listening to me. But I know that's not the case and I know that I am not safe in that sense. I am safe, though, with memories. You're still alive when I close my eyes and the movie screen starts playing on my eyelids. That's where you are and that's where you'll be forever. Standing above my eyelashes, I can still see you staring out the kitchen window, singing me some 90s country song. And then you turn around. There you are, dad. You're standing on my eyelashes wearing those old work boots, the same pair of jeans you've worn since as far back as I can remember, that flannel with a cigarette burn on the bottom right side, those rough big hands down on either side of your body. Your knuckles were always scabbed. I remember your thumbs were as big as my whole hand. Your neck lined with tiny brown specks all the way up to your mouth and behind your ears. The cuts on your striking jawbone from last time you shaved. Those cracked lips. Those crooked teeth. That nose that I wear, too. And then those eyes. Those wild blue bulbs of life that I wished mine looked like every time I looked into them. I'd spend hours when I was little sitting next to you pulling your earlobes and asking why my eyes were green. The best part about you was your ocean eyes dad. I think I'll miss seeing those, most.

I can't finish everything I wanted to say. This hurts. It's time go back upstairs and crawl into bed with my sleepy Tymm and close my eyes and play the movies on my eyelids. Tymm. Nothing else compares. He has proven to me his heart is made of gold. At the benefit dinner, my dad's best friend came up to me and said, "I heard you're married!"

He heard I was WHAT?

"Yeah, that's what your dad said. He said you got married!"

I don't know why my dad would've told this man I was married to Tymm but it makes me feel better knowing he met the person I will spend the rest of my life loving. I think my dad knew I was going to marry Tymm before I even did. He won't be there to walk me down the aisle, but it's okay because he already did, at some point in his wild mind.

Sleep time. See you in the movies dad. I'll follow you into the dark.

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