Letter To Be Launched Into The Ether (#1)

Dear Dad,

It snowed Sunday night, and Monday morning it looked like the island had been coated with sugar. I almost picked up the phone to call you, and tell you how beautiful it was. Of course, I’d have eventually started complaining about the fact that it would all be slush in a matter of hours. Today it rained–miserable, graceless weather, spitting cold from the sky like bullets. It was fitting, I suppose, as I haven’t felt this bad in months. Too much wine and an hours-long crying jag do not make for a pleasant morning after (big surprise).

I’ve started playing Milles Bornes again. I found a set at the Edgartown Thrift Shop for two dollars; it was the old style with the ugly box, but the cards inside were practically brand new. Games make the winter go a little bit smoother–something to do other than watch television. I miss playing Scrabble with you, even though you did accuse me of cheating when I finally beat you a few Christmases back. On some subconscious level, it feels sometimes like you’re just sitting in your little house in West Wareham, building a model truck, talking to the cat, waiting for the weather to break so you can go out and work in your shop; waiting for me to come visit so we can play Scrabble or stay up until two in the morning talking about trips we’re going to take someday.

I don’t know what to do with your house, or your shop, or your truck. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel alright about any decision I make. In order to rent the house I need to fix it up, but if I change anything, it won’t feel like you’re there anymore. I’m afraid to rent the shop with all of your tools in it because I don’t want anyone to damage them up or hurt themselves, but I know if I sell the tools, I’m going against your wishes, and I don’t want to do that. Really, I don’t want to do anything to any of it. I want to crawl up into the sleeper of the truck with a blanket and a pillow and go to sleep until you come back.

I was thinking this afternoon about the ugly yellow chair in the living room of the house we lived in at the boat yard when I was a kid, and how sometimes when I felt lonely or sad I’d bring my blankets out into the living room and sleep in that hideous recliner so that I was close enough to hear you snore, because for some reason it made me feel better. I remember sitting sideways in the chair to watch TV, with my legs thrown over the arms of it, and how every once in a while if I sat in the chair and held onto the antenna of the TV, Fox would come in clearly and I could watch Beverly Hills, 90210. You’d be sitting up in bed reading, and every once in a while you’d mock one of the characters, or throw a jelly bean at me, and tell me how ridiculous I looked sitting there with my hand up in the air, not moving for fear of losing the signal.

I was remembering, too, the day I went to foster care off-island, and the look of hurt in your eyes when you watched me walk up the ramp of the boat. How badly I wanted to run down the ramp and get back in your little truck and go home. But there was no going home, not for a while. All of that time spent in limbo, not knowing where I belonged–and for nothing. Because of worriers and busybodies who thought for some reason that it would be a good idea to take a motherless, confused teenager away from the person who loved her most in the world, and send her to live with strangers. I didn’t belong with strangers, I belonged with you.

My world doesn’t make sense without you in it. Some days I feel like I failed you–like if I’d badgered the doctors a little bit more, or gone to live with you and take care of you, or left work sooner that terrible Friday… but I know it’s just the emptiness making me feel that way. It’s a lot easier to reconcile something like heartbreak or death if you can convince yourself there was a reason, or that someone is to blame. It just doesn’t make any sense to think that the forces that be decided to take you so quickly, and so young, for no reason at all.

I think the hardest part of this is that you’re the person I always used to call when I felt this lonely or sad. Just hearing your voice would make me feel better, and there’s no hug in the world that could heal the way yours could. I remember how I buried my head in your chest when mom died, and sobbed until I was exhausted enough to sleep. I wish I could do that now. I feel like someone has tied an anvil to my ribs and dropped it off of a bridge.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I miss you. And it hurts. I finally feel it, and it fucking hurts.

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~ by saltgirlspeaks on 2 February, 2008.

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