Monday, October 13, 2008

cracked rear view

I have very few memories of my father. They are weathered and worn, distorted over time. Some only reappear in my dreams and I question their honesty. Yet here, in the sobering hours of daylight, I can clearly recall that his Jeep Wrangler smelled of piña colada air fresheners and there was always a 12-pack of beer in the refrigerator. I remember that his new wife never seemed to like me around. I can still hear her screaming at him, their verbal abuse barely hampered by the paper thin walls of the apartment. I remember being homesick, and crying myself to sleep at night, the pillowcase soaked with salty tears. I remember him being strong and tanned, this vision accompanied by his musky scent of stale cigarettes and sweat. I remember he used to make promises all the time that he would never keep, like visiting Grammy that weekend or driving to Disneyland to go on my favorite rides. I was always left disappointed, and finally I just stopped believing him altogether. I remember being left in day care, with all the stupid whiney babies and the cranky overworked sitters, huddled in the corner of the noisy playroom, alone, missing my mother so much I could barely breathe. I remember Rick would always mumble the words, 'cool beans' when we spoke on the phone. I hate that fucking saying. I remember being eight years old when the Hootie and the Blowfish album was released. That tape played on repeat for the entire summer, and when we got into his red Jeep, the one that smelled of piña coladas, I would beg my daddy to crank up the volume as high as it would go. I would sing those lyrics at the top of my lungs, the wind whipping through my stringy brown hair and cooling me from the suffocating Utah heat. That was the last summer that I spent with my father. There isn’t another memory more distinctly palpable than that one.

“She sits alone by a lamppost,
trying to find a thought that's escaped her mind.
She says Dad's the one I love the most…”

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