Sunday, June 13, 2010

when i saw my father after 30 years

Dad, if I could call him Dad, was taller than I expected him to be. I was just five years old when he left for good, and my memory of him was not of someone who was so tall. 30 years later, he’s taller than I imagined. But thinner, too. So maybe I added width where he really had height.

He can dance. We danced to some love song that was probably in DIRTY DANCING. He crooned to me while we danced. This Dad of mine, this Dad I never knew. I was having fun but was a little uncomfortable, too — I felt more as if I was on a blind date than at my half-brother’s wedding being reunited with my Dad after 30 years of no contact.

K, who looks like an owl sat next to me most of the night. I did not sit at the table with my Dad. She told me my father was married 5 times. She made jokes and counted her carbs. She just found out she’s diabetic. She’s not happy her son is marrying a woman with 2 children who is almost 10 years his senior and who is on disability and (clearly) addicted to painkillers. But A wants to be the father that our father never was. Instant family—he’s got it. He’s a good Christian, he’ll do right.

Dad said, “you look good”. Woohoo. I like looking good, but what about, “How are you?” Oh daddy Daddy Daddy Daddy. Where have you been all my life? MY life. My life of sorrows and beauty and dirt and disrespect. Maybe better that you were not around.

Pull me pull me up and out. I am going crazy trying to write something and I just started. Owe. What’s the theme? Theme? Theme? Here she comes, Mrs. America! Never thought I’d enjoy the movie Miss Congeniality, but I did,

Tell a story about your Dad. Dad of the hills, the big Old Smoky Mountain sad song. Dad of Old Kentucky (really Arkansas), but that’s where his momma lived. Dad who let my Mom pick tobacco all day and when she got home had to pick he ticks out of her bellybutton. Dad who couldn’t keep a job—he got bored so fast. Dad that I can relate to, Dad of my heart my blood.

When it’s time to leave, it feels like dying. When I’ve driven for two days to see you (Dad) and when I must turn back to go home, you ask me to drive an hour an a half out of my way, just to visit for “a little while”. When you won’t come to me. I accept that and say, It’s time for me to say ‘no’.

© 2006

No comments: