Thursday, January 17, 2013
you have been gone too long.
Five houses down, banging bruises on my fleshy palms, trying to wake my grandparents in the still of the morning, I watched my childhood home burn down. I noticed the flag tear itself away from the pole and float with flames to the summer grass. I watched electrical lines bounce in front of the house with an ironic pep. And, probably 35 seconds before my beautiful papa opened the door to a world of grief, to his shock stricken granddaughter and his dead son, I heard a window break and my dad scream.
My dad's last breath was panicked and rushed and probably full of excruciating pain. I heard it all.
Remembering is funny. Some nights, like right now, everything is at my fingertips. When it plays through my mind, some parts are in fast forward, other things are caught in a silky breeze, slowed and luxuriously articulate. And, my brain will grab random memories and toss them in haphazardly - and I mean, random shit.
Once my dad had a friend over, I think his name was Gary, who tried his hardest to impress me. It almost worked until he broke an egg over our kitchen table trying to do an experiment I'm sure he saw in high school. It doesn't matter, what matters is: he broke the egg over the table in front of my dad who died in that kitchen near that table.
That memory means nothing. And everything.
If you're wondering, I was in the house. I crawled out the back door and ran five houses down.
The last words he said (the ones before the scream):
"I don't know what I'd do without you and your brother."
I'll be goddamned if he'll ever have to find out.