Don’t Go

I was in another city, wasted, when my mother called my sister’s apartment at three in the morning to tell us our dad was dead.  I remember thinking I should feel this.  React, react!  But I felt nothing, as was so often the case in those years.  I listened to myself pretend shock and my voice even cracked.  What? I repeated.  I woke up my sister who actually feels things so I could replicate her reaction, gage her emotions, to tell me who I wasn’t.  She cried so I did.  Because I should.  What kind of beast pretends to ache?  It wasn’t for anyone else though, it was for myself, I had to believe I hadn’t gone that far.  My chest ached with nothing but the speed of amphetamines, alcohol, and self-hatred.  Scerosis of the liver–he drank himself to death and died on the bar floor.  On warm, sunny mornings he’d carry me across the yard to where the pink apple blossoms fell like snow.  He called me salt because of my white-blond hair.  He was warm and solid with those big, blue insecure eyes that were frightened into pleasing.  The gentle giant.  I cried for him then, when he began disappearing from our lives.  Arms outstretched, reaching for him, ache so heavy in my chest to my tummy, my whole self bawling and screaming for him not to go.


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