Wednesday, August 12, 2009

He hid Playboys under the guest bed, but he didn't know I knew. I hope..

I was looking at my old journal page and found this little tidbit that inspired me to write this
...I don't imagine there's much I wouldn't do to be sitting in that swing next to him with the summer all around and the frogs on the trailer and the sound of his laugh cartwheeling off into the blackness of the back yard. Just one more time.

My dad had a faded green confederate flag tattooed on his left bicep. It was a strong, freckled arm with very little hair on it and I used to dangle from it while he pretended I weighed as much as an elephant. He wore a pair of polyester maroon shorts with the army crest printed in white on the bottom when he mowed his lawn. The lawnmower was a red one we rode on. Him on the seat and me on his lap. He let me wear his big army sound-blocking cans and stuffed his own ears with cotton. He was almost deaf in his right ear anyway, but you can't just stick cotton in one ear, I guess.

He used Old Spice deodorant and Brut aftershave, and still managed to smell like vodka most of the time. But he was loving. And kind. And quiet. And according to him, I hung the moon. At night we caught tree frogs that slapped against the side of the trailer under the porch light. I squealed. He laughed. Bent over. Hands on knees. Shoulders bouncing in the moonlight. Shaking his head and wiping tears away with the back of one large, freckled hand. That is how I remember loving him. Big and chuckling.

He kept his monsters hidden in a brown paper sack and our weekends were only laced with their vapors. I turned my head when he sipped. He did his best to hide it as I buried my worry under an eight-year-old smile. Dodged probing questions from my mother about his condition. I was eight. I was seven. I was six. What do I know about a man's "condition"? Truth is I knew everything. Everything except for why.

I've written about my disappointment in my father for his absence. Yes, I have anger. But the anger is just the red and black silk hiding a pristine white rabbit underneath. The memories I have of my father, though few, are magic. A day doesn't go by that don't think of him and quickly pine for another ride on the bench seat of his blue pickup with a Motown tune on the tape deck and a yoo-hoo shared between us.

Sam is two months old now. He's fast grown out of his little baby shirts and tiny diapers and is bursting from his three month old clothes like a over-cooked sausage pops from it's casing. I can see versions of his daddy underneath each pudgy cheek and in between the folds of his milky skin. He's going to be big. And freckled. And kind. Like my husband. And hopefully a little like my own father.

Happy weekend, friends.


JG said...

cry balls.

L.R. M-J said...

That was really beautiful...that is why I think people become see those glimplses of the good in the people they love & have loved.