From What I Can Remember | Teen Ink

From What I Can Remember

February 19, 2008
By Anonymous

If you’ve ever lost someone who was close to you, sometimes it can be hard to remember specific details about that person. Sometimes I feel like no matter how hard I try to remember things about my father, there are distinctive features I can’t seem to recall. It’s easy to forget the way he smiled, how he laughed, how he smelled, and sometimes its hard to remember the sound of his voice. Of course, it is easy to glance at a picture and recall physical features about him, but no photograph will ever be able to capture his emotions or distinctive traits that I found to be interesting about him. Some times I also find it hard to remember his physical characteristics that I loved most. There are some details that I know I will never forget. But then there are those details that slip my mind. Somehow I have found it is easier for me to remember most details about my father from when I was a little girl opposed to memories of him as I got older. I like to reflect back and think about moments we shared together.

I can recall when I was a little girl how I used to crawl up onto my father’s lap. He would sit in his big, old, black chair and bounce me up and down on his knee until one of us got tired. I would run my tiny fingers through the gray strands that sat upon his head. The contrast between his ash colored hair and mulatto complexion made me wonder why people always said I looked like him. It could have possibly been his unkept eyebrows that made an odd, black path across the top of his face. Or maybe it was because we had the same eyes. His looked like deep pools of brown honey that became inundated with salty tears on more occasions than I can recall. He would rest his face against mine. I hated the feeling and would quickly turn my head in the opposite direction. His cheeks reminded me of a rose bush. They were soft and beautiful at a glance, but if I touched it them, I was bound to get poked by one of the many prickly thorns that graced it. He had a wide nose and paper thin lips that hid behind his salt and pepper mustache. I used to love burring my face into his neck. Time had caused it to become somewhat wrinkled and droopy but I loved the feeling more than he could ever imagine.

If I sat with him for long enough, I would fall asleep with my head resting on his shoulder. My father’s long, hairy arms and tough hands would hold on to me, not wanting to let me go. His grip was strong and assured me that I wouldn’t fall, but still gentle enough not to awake me. Often times my father would compare his hands to mine. On many occasions we would examine them palm to palm, and he would tell me that mine reflected a person who had never worked a day in their life. However, his hands reminded me of a battle field full scars and imperfections that created a rather rough texture.

I will never forget the smell of cigarette smoke and Old Spice that was buried deep in his clothing. As I would pretend to be fast asleep, I would relax my head against his chest. I liked the settle way it moved up and down as he would breath. Occasionally he would let out a cough, which forced me to change positions once again. Now my long legs seemed to be flung across the arm rest of his chair, while the rest of my body stretched across his stomach. My father was never a hefty man, but he always seemed to have a slight pot-belly. It would always make strange noises that I never understood. I definitely imagined it having a mind of its own and never caring who heard it speak.

When he could no longer sit there and be entertained by what was on the television screen, he would awaken me and tell me it was time to go to bed. I would lay there for a minute, pretending like I was in a deep sleep and couldn’t hear him. But no matter how long I would lie there, he would never end up carrying me to my room and tucking me into bed. He always made me walk. Still pretending to be in a deep sleep, I would stand up and wait until he did the same so I could follow him to my room. He rose slowly and was extremely taller than he appeared to be sitting down. His old age made it obvious that he could no longer stand as upright as he did before, but none the less he still stood tall. As I followed slowly behind him, my eye level was about the same height as his waist. Most times he wore cut off blue jeans that revealed two pencil thin legs. From his thighs to his ankles the size didn’t seem to change. Attached to his skinny ankles were two size ten feet that seemed to disappear into his socks and shoes. He moved like molasses, never in a hurry for anybody. He was extremely slew footed, making each step look more awkward than the last, but yet no walk suited him better.

Once we reached my room, I would climb in bed and fall fast asleep, never remembering anything after that. My father and I spent many nights going through this same routine, but as I became older, things apparently changed. Now that he has passed on, I try my hardest to make sure that the memories I do have stay steady in my mind, and don’t disappear as time passes. What I do remember will stay with me, and I will cherish it forever.

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