Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of my father’s passing. 20 frigging years. I no longer grope around for the memory of his voice, blindly reach out for the color of his eyes. I no longer panic over what he has missed. Events like murder and divorce, and even the current technologies are things I am glad he isn’t here to see. These little acts of rude would hurt him, shame him, embarrass him. While I would love to hear his rants on it all I’m glad he is spared the consternation.
And yet. There are things I wish he didn’t have to miss. Selfishly, there are things about him I wish I didn’t miss. Every once in awhile I will hear, see, taste, touch, or smell something that brings him back and I’ll blurt the memory out loud. ‘Little Red Corvette’ = my father hated that song; Velveeta = grilled cheese sandwiches I used to make for dad (just last night we got into a conversation about fathers and pimento loaf, another head-scratching favorite). Kisa almost knows my father just by the things I’ve said. Consider this:
Last month he and my mother got into a dustup over dad’s birth year while driving to my grandfather’s funeral. Mom said, “oh you just know that because you can do the math!” Indignant, my husband retorted, “no, I actually know the month, day and year and I also know you were born 11 years later. November 26th.” I couldn’t help smiling from the backseat. This isn’t Kisa’s first go-round with his mother-in-law.
And then, there’s this: this week would have been my father’s 74th birthday. I never said a word to my husband about this. May 4th usually comes and goes with little fanfare these days. Yet when Kisa unpacked the grocery bag he hauled out a box of strawberries and…angel food cake. My dad’s favorite dessert. Before I could get the words out of my mouth Kisa said quietly, “I remember.”
That night I made a chocolate sauce. The salt of my tears only made it sweeter.