Reoccurring Memory

April 14, 2008
By Sara Harrichran, Greeneville, TN

His memory haunted me today. I missed him more than I should. Our good times were few and far in between, sprinkled with pain from losing Mom, each other and ourselves.

When the phone call came at the high school, I wasn’t ready. I finished the day in a mask of happiness, stumbling through things called algebra and science. When the bell rang to signal the end of school, I was the last one out.

Flowers in plastic buckets overflowed the front porch as I stepped down from the school bus. The windows had been shrouded in black curtains, an air of horror touching my soul.

Aunt Suzy was home, and she’d heard the news. I didn’t want to talk to her, so I let myself in with the key under the birdhouse. Backpack, coat and shoes were piled in the entryway, as I tip-toed to the kitchen.

Dead silence clung to me as I made a cup of coffee, Dad’s favorite. Five creamer the way he liked it and seven tiny crackers. I ate in his armchair, swathed in the Mom’s favorite quilt.

I tried to remember everything I could about him, up until the day that the chemo became too much. He was taken to the hospital where Aunt Suzy would never let me go. I never had the chance to say goodbye. The bitterness of the coffee made up for the tears I couldn’t cry as I choked down each swallow.

Aunt Suzy found me there, asleep, several hours later. I ran away the following night, calling my grandmother from a pay phone at a rest area.

Gram picked me up and let me stay in the attic. The next years blurred by in a mixture of things I loved to hate.

I eventually managed to push Dad’s memory as far back into my head as possible. It would only torment at night, when I was helpless to resist. His laughter, his tears and the scent of Ralph Lauren danced across my nightmares.

To forget him would be good, but impossible. Every dream stemmed from losing him, is another story I write in this notebook. Someday my heart will heal enough to elaborate on the word ‘father’. Until then, I wait, tonight, dinner will be coffee and crackers.

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