I look down at the phone. "Long and hard" would be a shit description and a lie. A glance is enough. Photographs of other people's lives. Children littered around their feet or crammed upon their laps. "Happy Father's Day!" Again...again...and again. I am not disturbed, disgusted or envious. In fact, I am pleased some of the "breeders" out there are my friends...people I have a genuine respect and affection for. I am, however, detached. Full up in this moment with a bewildering nothingness. I have stopped wishing others a happy Father's (Fathers'?) Day. I make an exception for my Father-in-law and actually look forward to calling each time this Sunday rolls around. He has earned it. I do not spend time doubting others' worthiness, but I do wonder if I have earned it.
My father died when I was two years old in my Mother's arms. If asked, she would tell you she was grateful for having that last moment. That's not an extraordinary sentiment for a widow...just something I am grateful I was too young to remember. I am told I stood day after day by the front door waiting for him to return from delivering the mail.
I'll pause here to keep this from being overly sentimental. See, this "memory" has yet to belong to me. I doubt it ever will. It is a fabrication woven from snippets and crumbs I have gathered over the years. The child by the door is nothing more that a Norman Rockwell creation with a skinned knee and a red wagon. Most days, I keep that issue lying face-down on the table.
Perhaps he would have taught me how to avoid getting beaned while playing T-ball. There’s trauma for you.