I wrote once about my father; my dad. About the things he made, namely me. About the things, besides life, he's given me.
We've been all over the place with gifts, emptiness, stories, more.
I love him. I can admit that now.
A week ago, my daughter turned three. We go hard for birthdays, extremely hard. We see parties as gifts we give to everyone, in celebration for how wild in love we are with our child. This year, it was an African Drumming Party.
Jam on a D'jembe... Don't laugh (or do).
We danced, accepted gifts, sweated out our respective perms and/or roller-sets, fogged up our glasses. We laughed; old laughter, young. Fortunately no one wet anything needed to stay dry.
All kinds of people came; black, brown, pink, beige (me). Some folks didn't.
Zora barely noticed the non-comers. Her cousins were there. In her 3-year-old world, that fact was both the joint and the jam. Her favoritist part. Her love her cousins.
Day ends. Two days stealthily passed. I wondered where he was. How come he kept being a no-show to these events? We'd spoke the night prior to the party. Auntie So-and-So was going to bring him from the city (his) to the burbs (ours). He even semi-joked he'd convince Mummi to come. I was even semi-ok with telling him it'd be ok if she just couldn't make it. We both knew and know: she never ever will.
Just this weekend, I learned he'd had surgery before the party. No details needed. None I'd like to share. But he'd had a surgery, an incision, perhaps blood, pain. And he hadn't told me. And he had walked, by himself, to the appointment. And he... had extreme moments along the way. My mother even confirmed his tears, the pain he experienced in the short days of recovery he'd had. He didn't ask for help. Didn't beg a glass of cool water. And I... I didn't even know.
And this has affected me deeply. Selfish, I know. Unselfish, I know.I had planned a party, held one, debriefed, and my father, my dad, was hurting.
We went to visit him this weekend. His daughter, his grandaughter. We peeked at him sideways, straight on.
I counted freckles. Hugged him more closely. And I don't hug. He doesn't either. He was his usual self more or less; gruff, sweet, sarcastic, humble. Half-way crazy yes. Side-eyeing me back.
Leaving, he long-leggedly approached my short-bodied car, leaned into the passenger-side window, crimping all 6'4 inches of himself into a very low frame, Boston, the Vineyard, and years of public transportation all up in his accent, and said :
"Kid. You're a nervous wreck. You're going to get sick. Come on."
The stories our bodies both share and withhold.