I love pictures. For example, I don't have so many pictures of my dad. But the ones I do have bring back a flood of memories.
This picture, for example, was taken when we lived on Greenhill Drive. A lot of my childhood was spent at the house on Greenhill Drive. That's where I fought with my friend, Serafine, over whose cousin was prettier. It's where my sister's friends would invade when my mom was away for the night and I'd take to a bedroom closet to avoid drunken teenagers playing baseball with grapes and rolls of wrapping paper. That's where I found out my mom smoked (her cigarettes were promptly ripped up and disposed of in the backyard) and that my parents were going to divorce. That sucked.
Anyway, back to the picture. I haven't seen any of this stuff in, what, 15 years? But I remember it all instantly - how it felt, what it looked like. I remember that lightweight blue pillow - it had a goose on it. And the burnt velvet couch, the one we had to cut a slit in the back of to get my sister's hamster.
And there's my dad sleeping. Arms folded over that big belly that made all the funny noises. Drew-Carey glasses. Omnipresent crewcut Dad washed with barsoap. And I can guarantee you that he's wearing brown workboots.
Dad would've been 66 today.
It's been more than seven years since he passed away now. The memory of Dad has now settled into a quiet hurt. The kind you will stop you and make you frown when it strikes you, but that you can move on from. Unless you choose to dive in it and swim around, like I'm doing now.
It hurts me that Dad doesn't know anything about me or my life now. It sucks that I can't tell him about diving or hear him laugh at my tortoise - and trust me, he would. That I can't shower him with Clive Cussler books - from the new bookstore - and Snickers bars. That I won't get to talk to him ever again.
I did have him for two decades and for that I am grateful. But hey, for those of you who still have a Dad to call and visit - don't ever stop being grateful.
Okay, sorry to be a bummer. Frivolous pictures and reading to resume...