Today is my father's birthday; he died in 1994. I don't have many photos of him so will use one that I've posted already.
It's strange to be able to finally speak on this blog about what I could never discuss as a child. There's an odd freedom when people die and you can say what you like at last -- then sometimes you don't even feel you need to because it's finally all over. I couldn't believe it when my father died -- that at last that strident critical voice in my life was silenced. I thought somehow he would overcome that final obstacle and still be able to get to me.
I wrote a short story in college about my problems with my father that was published in a mag. Here are the first few paragraphs:
An arena -- I am in a huge arena, dressed in white. I look up to see the crowds -- masses of people -- cheering. Cheering what? Where did they come from? What am I doing in an arena? Suddenly, a deafening roar from the crowd; they are pleased. Then I see a lion; golden, untamed, fiercely graceful, coming toward me.
"And the lion is on the 20 yard line, first down and ten," shouts a football announcer.
"Ungrateful child." My father is the official. "Spurn me and take my money anyway." A crash of the whip against my unsuspecting back. "Why aren't you what I wanted in a daughter?" My father becomes the lion.
"I'm sorry, so help me God." I fall to the ground weeping. I am devoured by the lion. Blood, gnashing of teeth.
I don't have the intense feelings about all this that I used to have; I think I'm reconciled to what was. The ferocity of emotion has been replaced with a kind of wistfulness for what might have been.