She said there was nothing to say. She sat there staring out at a blank surface but her eyes darted as if she was reliving a tormented scene. She shudders and laughs half smiling to distract us from watching the sadness covering the person we no longer really knew. She had shrunken inside her self and boarded up the doors. There was nothing left for the four of us to do so we sat there in silence. As time inched along, one by one everyone took thier leave. I sat there unmoving and prepared to stay all night in the silence. Quietly as if a twig snapped she began to speak. Incoherant mumblings about choices and roads. She asked if the pain would ever go away,as if I knew, but I said nothing. She began to demand he would come back alive, as if I could make his death dissapear. She looked out at the emptiness around her and said: "there is no magic. There is no perfect ending. Fairytales are fucked. Life is unexpected and often unkind." Pulling out his wallet now without owner she smells it... Searching for a memory. I tell her the only thing my sad mind is capable of offering: "life is about moments. Stolen beautiful moments, first kisses, late nights out with your friends, making love all night, dancing in the rain. Yes, it can be unkind,but the moments that steal your breath are worth the pain. It might not seem like it now, but one morning you will wake up and the moments will comfort instead of torture you. We get moments. We live for moments.
Shela is twenty three and she laughs nervously when she talks and uses her hands to emphasize her stories. She says she never met her father or maybe she did (nervous laughter) but anyways if she did she was an infant and doesn't remember. She has another baby on the way and says her new boyfriend the second babies daddy is a great guy. She hopes he might ask her to marry him soon. She looks out the window as a small two year old plays with toy cars at her feet. She rubs her belly and smiles and repeats "yah this baby is going to be different now that we are all a family." Half convincing herself and half sheer hopefulness she laughs and asks "What about you? Did you have a great childhood?" I lean back in the puffy leather chair in the waiting room and glance over at the man bent forward waiting for a cue to say something. He had been sitting forward playing with his keys and hanging on our every word. He coughs and says "nobody has a good childhood." His matter-of-fact statement irritated Shela and she snaps "that's not true lots of people have good relationships with their parents!" Josh introduces himself to me and tells me he has a daughter that he visits when he can because babies mother moved away. He says he misses her and shows me a picture on his cell phone of a beautiful chubby redhead doll. He says Fathers Day "kinda sucks" because he won't see her. He doesn't talk to his own father much because his dad and him don't get eachother. His father always wanted him to be 'perfect' and Josh scratches his scruffy chin and laughs "guess I never measured up". Shela lifts her son onto her lap and says "I won't make my kids feel that way." Josh smiles "yah, me either" Then they both look at me with expressions that only mean one thing: 'your turn'. I shift uncomfortably and glance out the window as a only classic mustang goes driving by. I decide after a moment to offer these two strangers the truth, after all, hadn't they just opened up some honesty of thier own. Shela pressed "so what are you doing for fathers day?" It was such an innocent question as if someone asked "how was your day" but it felt like a doctor just walked in and told me I had a week to live. Josh leaned forward closer almost as if there was some sort of plack written on my face. "Nothing. I do nothing on Fathers day for the past eight or so years." Josh assumes my father has passed and offers his sympathy but I mimick Shela and laugh nervously. I say out loud the truth. Somehow I actually visualize the words coming out of my mouth and I want to pull them back in and shove them away where they can remain dormant and secret. My own little secret sad story just like theirs - only not real because I didn't share it. Too late. The words came out and the simple truth came out an emotionless lie so these strangers didn't feel sorry for me. "I haven't heard mybfathers voice in over five years. He's alive and I hear doing well but we don't talk. He has children and grandchildren that live near him so he's pretty busy which is fine because I'm busy too. I know he loves me though... I think he does... No,no I'm pretty sure he does. Anyways it's not that big a deal. Not really." lies. Lies to a room full of strangers. I didn't realize a tear came out till Shela touched my arm. It's a strange thing when someone you barely know sits quietly with you and allows you to lie. Josh sighs "yah like I said... Fathers Day just sucks!" Three strangers laugh in a stark mismatched lobby. As I get up to leave Shela waves "happy father-less day to you!" I smile and say "and happy fatherless day to you too!"
The empty boxes sit dusty broken down against the wall and the sun streams through the window to show a quiet room filled with dancing particles in the light. Everything stacked untouched in a home where the owner is no longer breathing. Left behind is memories and leaves his hands robbed with nothing human to touch. He stands in a vacant home unable to box belongings cherished by a father who he watched gasp for breath at his bodies last attempts to resist exit in this world. Fathers Day has never become a more painful approaching day. No mother and now no father. An orphan left behind and not quite sure how to fit into this world. He looked like a beaten soilder coming off the battlefeild. His shirt is dirty and worn and his baseball hat he keeps removing and putting back on - an obssesive compulsive movement he can't seem to stop. He is looking for comfort that is lost and no matter how much he puts put his arms he can't quite reach. He stares at family pictures and tries to remember just who the hell he was suppose to be. He says "fuck" over and over into an empty space to keep from crying, screaming, or hitting something. He doesn't want to do this. He doesn't want to feel. He just wants Fathers Day to go away.
His hair was all the way grey and he spent his morning strategically combing over the thinning parts in an effort to make an older body feel like his younger mind. He choose to sit next to her, but only because he didn't like the idea of sitting alone. He wasn't planning on saying a word, but when a large sigh escaped her, he chuckled "My thoughts exacutly Miss" he held out his hand for an introduction. He saw the spiral notebook on her lap and although not quite on purpose, he had read the first few lines. It didn't seem right to him that a girl so young could be writing about sadness when beauty was everywhere. So choosing words carefully he suggested how precious life was. She looked at him and half smiled. Tucking her hair behind her ear and licking her lips she began slowly. "Have you ever been addicted to something, sir?" He tapped his breast pocket "Been smoking for years, so yep!" Then she said something that surprised him. She began to explain intoxication and how wonderful it felt to chase a high... Alcohol or drugs. She used colorful pictures of how it felt to let go and be in that time suspending state where nothing dark penitrates your space and how pain breifly subsides. Thinking obviously she was in serious trouble, he suggested a possible rehabilitation center. She was quiet and then asked: "Sir... Imagine that substance was a person. How do you check into rehab then?" he smiled relieved and couldn't resist bumping her shoulder "Ahh... That I do understand. You scared me there for a moment!" She told him he should be scared because a love drunk heart is absolutly more fearful then any substance you could smoke, snort, inject or drink. She explained her case with detail and honesty. How there are some people in the world who while you are in thier presence you feel drunk alive. You forget the things you know as truth when you are sober without them. She explained that the withdrawal was unbarable when you come down from the high of them. How you always know when they leave your system you will fall harder and faster then the next time and you will be out chasing your next big high. Her eyes scanned the room and then settled back on him "walking away and quiting what isn't good for you is the hardest most painful thing you can ever experiance." He thought for awhile staring at her picking at her chipped nail polish. Her funny little new-age hair cut and dressed up the way younger girls nowadays do. She was a curious thing. A vision of normal sitting in a plastic chair among the crowd. He smiled and reached for his cigerrates handing them to her "Well, shit lil-lady after that what the hell do I need these for?" she giggled a refreshing sound to break the calculated calm surrounding her. He places his hand on her journal and leans forward and says above as whisper: "I think everything walks into our lives on purpose. I think life is a beautiful messy dance and we all screw up the steps sometimes. What really matters is how we teach ourselves everyday to twist and turn lifes events, so we can enjoy the journey." he stood up slowly gathered his hat and his breifcase "It was beyond a pleasure to meet you and I can honeslty say young lady... You have made my day. You are a brilliant voice in this world. Try to look out the window more - it's a view of a bright-sun-shinny-day!"
He spends his free time rifling through his belongings. Those tangiable items that make him feel connected to something grounded and real. It passes the time and his thoughts become mechanical. He removes his baseball hat to scrath his head and clears his throat. One saw, a flat head, drill, sander... Methodically rearranged piles of meaningless meaning to a man who looks more like a little boy sitting on the carpet with wrapping around him Christmas morning. He lifts up his shirt and scrathes his chest trying to ignore the photo album on his roll away red toolbox. Careful not to disturb it's contents. If opened it would reveal a pretty little girl smiling in her best party dress. It would show him a life he choose to walk away from and the painful smile would cross his face and today, like tomorrow, it would be too much for his sleepless eyes to handle. One drill bit, a screwdriver, a grinder, and a box of nails. Left to right and side by side on well thought out stacks in the garage. The door opens and she peeks her head out with a smile. She joins him and sits as he goes through the ritual. Two bodies in a cold messy garage. He tilts his head and gives her his best goofy grin and sticks put his tongue. She laughs and plays with the back of his hair. She reachs out and places her hand gently on the photo album and stands still. "maybe you should go see your daughter today?" She says as the bright blue of his eyes change. She points to his phone on his hip and smiles. Standing next to him as he makes the call that's most days harder then breathing. One screwdriver, one paint roller, one hammer. Side by side and left to right... One man and one silly little girl stand.
She doesn't make all the right choices and the unexpected seems to find her at the weakest moment. She'll tell you she's logical, but the silly girl always follows her heart. Most of the time she's dreaming with her head filled with stories and hope. Her hopefulness and genuine belief of human kindness is her flaw. It's painful how often it leaves her silly little scrunched up face staring off at the sunset alone. The world feels like it's dancing past her, she says. A soft whisper into the cool empty breeze. Those fluttery souls around her warn her of the edge she approaches, but silly little thing keeps walking unaware. Her flip flops are broken, her shirt is wrinkled and her jeans are to faded to enter the ballroom. You will find her palms pressed tightly to the glass watching with a smile and awe-glowing in tear filled eyes. They are all inside the warm cherry blossom room, soft orchestra sounds, clinking glasses, laughing babies, and couples embracing. An orphan to the dance, but she still stands to watch the show. The pretend man comes behind her "I'm sorry you can't go inside" he says sadly. She looks over her shoulder at the darkness. She knows the scent of him like her lungs shudder to exhale. She breathes in the familiar comfort of him in and closes her tired aging eyes. She lies to herself again "it's alright". A couple opens the balcony doorway and she leans forward hopeful and eager to finally gain entrance. His pretend hand intertwined her fingers and pulls her back gently and with regret. He says into her ear close enough it's as if he was emerging from her "No silly girl- you know this dance will never be for you".