Even if you don't love it

 

A dream:

“My father was a man. He wasn’t a great man, and he surely isn’t the worst of men. He didn’t teach me how to shave. Didn’t teach me what it meant to be a man. The only thing he did teach me was how to run away.”

I’m standing in a church, reading to people I don’t know, won’t know, don’t care to know. None of their faces register. None of them matter to me. I’m reading from my notes that kept me up most of the night before. Scattered thoughts to usher this man into the next. My father, the stranger. This absent lover. Who wanted affection from those he left behind, but couldn’t muster enough to return it. Birthdays were littered with broken promises. How do I make the man whose life was a mystery to me look good? How do I pretend these things?

Do I mention the year he got me a gun when I was still in elementary? How he forgot to pick me up for school that morning? Or how I had to nudge him awake because he passed out on our living room floor because he drank too much?

“My father, he lived. He drank. He died.”

That’s sums it up. It sums it for all of us.