from Reflections on a Life, writings and paintings for my father
My father is running toward me at the Drive-in-Theater-turned-Flea-Market. He’s got something blue in his hands. I’m in the lower lot near the swing sets and the big screen. He’s in the upper lot, so it’s a downhill run, zigzagging past junk covered tables that glisten in the hot, early afternoon sun. My father looks gleeful as if he’s found a real deal. He loves a bargain. He always gets me the wrong gift for the right price. I take the gifts, thank him, tell him I like them, and he always knows I’m lying. Gifts are the only way he can tell me what he wouldn’t dare use words for. He brings them to me with full openness, and when I can’t accept them wholly, it’s complete refusal. Sadness pours out of him like a sweat.
I can watch him running toward me any time I want. It’s a memory I play back at will, a memory like a photograph with little depth of field. Everything before and after it is blurred, but this one moment of him running is in focus, so crisp it shimmers. It’s a blue glass vase in his hands. It’s got raised milky flowers. He got it for two bucks because of a tiny chip in the rim. It will be one of the few beautiful things I own.
I love replaying the memory of him running. He’s wearing a white t-shirt and plaid shorts. He knows there is something right about this. When he reaches me, he’s all out of breath.
I wrote this piece long before my dad died, but included it in an exhibit honoring him shortly after his death.