Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Letters to my father


I came to the library in Scottsdale today on my lunch break, instead of going out to eat with my co-workers.
The same library where you used to take me when I was 12. I loved it then because it was huge, and beautiful. With the big sparkling gray castle in the kids section, complete with a tower and turret for private reading, and the grounds around it were so so green and luscious it was like a small oasis in the middle of the desert we actually live in. Big, gushing fountains and thick shady trees cooling down the silky soft grass...it was my 12 year old paradise.
I like it here now because it's air conditioned, and quiet, and when I bring the kids I have an excuse to ask them to whisper. We're in a library after all. And there are used books we can buy for 50 cents, and the castle is still there. And when it's really hot and nobody is looking, I let the kids run through the fountains. Just like you did for me when I was little.
I like coming here alone now too, because the bathrooms are big and there are so many stalls. Bathroom stalls are a good place for grieving. You can close the door and stay as long as you like. No one rushes you in the bathroom, especially when there are 20 other stalls for them to choose from.
I'm just not sure what it is that I'm grieving. 
You aren't dead yet.
I guess that's what I'm grieving that right there: the yet in that sentence.
Before this there was never a yet on the end of sentences about you dying. 
Up until all of this, I think I believed somewhere in the back of my mind or maybe the bottom of my heart, that you would live forever. 
Not in the unrealistic "death doesn't exist" way, {I've believed death was real ever since my cat Bob died when I was 5 and you made me look at his body and touch his tail so I would understand what death meant} but more in the sense that I never reconciled the idea of losing you someday. 
Of watching you die.
So now I hide in bathrooms among stainless steel and white tile, and try to practice saying it out loud without my voice breaking.
I try make myself say the word cancer without tears filling my eyes.
I try to accept that you are in fact mortal, without the very breath leaving my chest.

So far I haven't made much progress.

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