Over le weekend I…
Went to an ambassador party at a yoga boutique. They gave us presents, hors d’oeuvres and hugs.
Taught three steamy yoga classes. Fell in love with the yogis of Vendredi and Samedi.
Found a 10 hour loop of a beloved XX song.
Saw Argo at Sundance. That sh*t was tight.
Learned how to spell ‘hors d’oeuvres.’
Learned how to make chia seed gel for smoothies.
Missed my son, who was in La Crosse.
Looked at rainbow photos a la Google with Susie on my lap. She loves rainbows. She demands rainbows.
Was treated to pumpkin pancakes made by my husband.
Realized that no matter what, people around me are good, kind, generous. Even when I royally f*ck up, someone (family, friend, stranger) offers a soft word, a shirt off their back.
I think of my father and my brother, who have left this world. I think of my still-livin’ up north bro who I rarely see. Miss them all.
Both my father and one of my brothers spent time in jail, years ago. Not always at the same time, but once, twice, their visits shared a moon. I grieve the loss of the time I could have spent with them. Could have sat and stared at them through thick glass. Asleep, I write to them and burn the letters before morning.
I drove away to college and left them in the dust of my hometown. Kept them at arm’s length. Got on with my life. Maintained my solid C+ average and behaved better than my hung-over, slept-around friends.
My brother and I are cool now. He knows I love his bones and I know he loves mine. We have time to repair.
But my father is lost and gone. Before he drank himself to death and turned yellow (cirrhosis), he was a big strapping guy. Tan, blond, blue-eyed. Everyone noticed him.
He holed up in the house our family owned for a hundred years. He drank a hundred bottles of cheap ashtray vodka.
When I was home on spring break, he served me purple soda in a champagne flute. It was a nice gesture. He locked the filthy rooms upstairs so I wouldn’t see. There was a melted candle on every surface. Half the summer, his lights and power had been cut off by the city. He’d already begun to leave his body.
Dad told me he dreamed of Walker Texas Ranger and spiders invading my uncle’s basement. He didn’t dream it. That was a detox attempt. He barricaded himself in the sun porch, locked the door and told his sister if she wanted in, she had to get past Walker. He always had a wicked sense of humor.
He played a Joe Satriani record for me and said, “You look great. Tell me about English 350. Are you writing a play?” He was destroyed and lonely, but skillful at making other people feel good about themselves. There was no personal struggle he couldn’t understand. He had a big heart, but it was ticking away.
The last few weeks of his life, he became a hologram. His hair fell out and he gave up the fu manchu mustache. Moved into a nursing home at age 47 and never came back. The last time I saw him he’d turned green (jaundice) and he couldn’t stay awake to smoke his last cigarettes.
My aunts and circled around his bed while he dozed. My baby son was passed from lap to lap, not knowing he’d never hear his grandfather speak again.
Dad let us kiss his sunken cheeks, but his eyes barely recognized us.
I’d like to buy his house, paint it white and fill it with happy old photos of our family. My dad looks like some kind of Zeus in those pictures. Maybe I will. Or I will let him go and know that he lives in my hands, my favorite songs and the kindness of strangers.
Can you relate?