Thursday, October 2, 2014

What Gets Left Behind

Yesterday I was sad.

I wrote to my brother, Ter, and he wrote back that he, too, was sad. He wrote: It is said that after a break-in, it takes a really long time to know what is lost.
We were talking about the death of our father.

You hear the word "profound" when it comes to an amazing amount of loss and devastation or tremendous change with huge impact.
Yes. That's right.
I can be hiding from my family, trying to stifle a crying jag, and the word "profound" repeats in my head, like a mantra. It is a perfectly round sounding word like the noise of pain. It is a perfectly accurate word to describe how I am feeling. How I've been changed. How I'm thinking.

Like being robbed, I go to ask my father a question like one would reach for their necklace. Gone.
I hear his voice like one would see what appears to be the corner of their laptop under a couch cushion. A mind's trick.

And what got me yesterday was that I didn't even know that I had lost an old familiar tradition shared until receiving the stinging slap of realization. I didn't see it coming so I couldn't brace for it and was unbalanced by it.

On a quiet, rainy and dark morning, I'm sitting in a chair he frequented, and I'm thinking about how he would make me feel a little bit better. What words he would use. But all that comes to me is a completely different memory.

He was home one weekend day and my mom was out. I'm maybe 10 and cleaning my closet when this horrendous Mickey Mouse doll fell on my head. (It had a hard body and you could squeeze his hands to make him pigeon step around. Am I dating myself with this?)

I was more offended by the attack than anything and ran downstairs to tell him what happened.

"What doll hit you?" he demanded, in all seriousness.
"Mickey Mouse." I said.

My father got up from the couch, grabbed his cigarette and went marching up to my room.
I ran off behind him, confused. He got to my room and halted. (Probably frightened by the mess. He was a tidy man.)
"Show me. Show me."
Obediently, I ran to my closet and grabbed the offending toy and held it up to him. He placed his cigarette between his teeth, giving him a ferocious and menacing appearance, and took Mickey from me and said, "Hey, buddy! Blammo!" and hit the doll square in the face.

(stunned silence)

He handed the toy back to me, removed his cigarette from his mouth, and kissed me on the head.
"Nobody hurts Kitty Kat Kate."

How fortunate that memories can never be stolen. And you can find them when searching through the wreckage.

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