Sunday, April 18, 2004

Give Him A Reason Day!

Tell him when you were six you picked the lock on your father's locker cabinet and you found several different whiskeys and aperitifs and a jelly jar of preserved women's index fingers. Tell him you didn't ask your father about the jar because you were too scared to tell him you'd broken into his liquor cabinet. You spent most of your teen years harboring an anxiety that you couldn't pin down. Suffice to say, any time your father came home late from work, you took to chewing at your fingertips but you couldn't say why. A child therapist chalked it up to a separation anxiety. Considering that your mother had run off when you were young, it only made sense that you'd fear for the disappearance of your father as well. Tell him that as you grew up, you always had a vague memory of finding the jar of index fingers, but you'd assumed it was a memory of a dream you'd had.

Tell him you never took a drink until you were 28, the year you said to your father, "I once found a jelly jar full of index fingers in your liquor cabinet. Was one of them Mom's?" Tell him that your father said nothing. Just turned his head to look out the window of his hospital room. You sat an hour staring at the back of his head, then you left. Tell him that you never went back to visit him and a week later you got the call that he'd passed away. Tell him that three hours before his funeral, you got on a bus out of town and started on a six-year bender. Then tell him that you eventually made peace with yourself and have since tried to live a good life as a kind man, but sometimes you get mixed up still.

"That's why I forgot to return your power saw. Sorry Kenny."

Tell him you just want to be a good neighbor.

Happy Give Him A Reason Day!