Monday January 23, 2012

Damn, I hate the fact that the guidance counselor was right, but I felt even better after getting the first death, my mother’s, off of my chest.

Sarah returned to school today, and, while I did keep an eye on her whenever possible, surreptitiously glancing at her in class when she didn’t realize I was looking at her -- I have managed to not stalk her or approach her. And it’s been two days since I called her. Sure, last night, before going to bed, I picked up the phone and started dialing her number. But I put the phone down before I finished.

Who knows? If I keep up this journal type writing, maybe I’ll get completely over Sarah.

I guess I should share the second death in this lifelong chain, then.

My father

He died when I was about seven years old.

I can barely remember the man, but I do have these vague memories that play back to me like an old movie reel in my mind. One of my favorites is this memory from a time in which I think I might have been four or five years old. I’m standing, leaning back against the refrigerator, and my father is standing in the kitchen, talking to me but looking out the window at something outside. And he’s reflecting on something, like he’s sharing a deeply personal memory or experience with me. I can’t remember what he’s telling me, but I remember being very interested, enraptured by his words. All that comes back is this memory of him talking to me and the musky ripe scent of his pipe.

To this day, I cannot smell a pipe without thinking about my father and about that early kitchen memory -- and, though most of what I know about him is through stories told to me by relatives, I always have this image of him, standing near the window, talking to me and looking off into the distance, as the main picture in my head of him. And just like I have few memories of my father, I don’t have many memories from when I was seven. But I remember this.

All too clearly.

We were fighting. I was playing cops and robbers with a couple of friends, and my father wanted me to come in -- it was time for my bath and I needed to get ready for bed. It was early summer and I remember being so angry that I had to go in when there was so much light outside. I thought I should only have to go in when the sun was down. It just wasn’t fair.

I ignored my father, even though he was standing at the top of the steps and I was in the driveway. I remember wishing that he’d just shut up, wishing that he would go away, die, whatever, just leave me the hell alone.

When he came down the steps, I ran across the street, toy gun in hand, looking toward my buddies who had already crossed the street and were pretending to shoot at each other over and around a hedge. I wanted to be over there with them, back in the pretend world of cops and robbers, engaging in the mystery, the fun, not running from my dad.

He followed me across the street.

I didn’t even see the car -- but I heard it.

My dad must not have seen it either.

The impact killed him instantly.

Frank - said . . .
Crikey Peter. That is some burden for a small lad to carry. I don't imagine it is much of a lighter burden as an adult.

Trish - said . . .
Oh my. What a terrible memory to have to carry around!