Monday, March 1, 2010

The Last Time

Do you remember the last time you cried? Someone asked me this the other day and I thought about it for a little while but quite honestly came up with a blank. I’m not a tough guy. That’s not it. I just could not remember the last time I cried. That time I dislocated my knee doesn’t count. That singular tear was the equivalent of drooling at the dentist while your flaccid mouth is all anesthetized up. The liquid expulsion is involuntary. Well alright, that and it really hurt. But I’m talking about crying emotionally. I’m not a broken man of stone, either; I have emotions. I just don’t cry. And you know what? I’d like to. I want to cry.

            If she asked me that again I could answer with much more accuracy. I do remember, I do! It was this morning. I was lying in my bed and I didn’t know it at the time, but I was dreaming.

            There was a powder blue envelope and it said From Dad on it. I opened it and I knew it was for my mom. It contained a magazine and it had something to do with a romantic getaway. I thumbed through it and there were some handwritten notes in it and I got really excited to hand this off to my mom. I love my mom. I really do. She’s a single woman right now and I want to see her get married almost more than I want to see myself get married. She loves me so much and she deserves a good man to love her. She just deserves it. You see, my parents aren’t together. That’s fine. I don’t disagree with this. It happened when I was very young and I think my mom was behind most of the decision making there.
            I took the envelope to my mom and waited around for her to read it, so I could see her reaction. She opened it up and started talking to me about the stuff inside. I had this feeling she thought that it was from me. Perhaps she hadn’t seen the handwritten signature on front- From Dad. No, no, she said. We can’t go on vacation together. I wanted to tell her that it was from Dad, that it was him wanting to go on vacation with her! But just like the dreams where you need to run far and fast and you find yourself unable to take a mere step, I simply couldn’t tell her. I was muted, dumbfounded.

            I walked into the front door of our house. My brother was there. He didn’t look very good. He was looking old, weathered. You could tell he was still young but he looked aged. His face seemed to be becoming leathery. It looked like he had a healed and shallow scar on his face. I asked him how he was doing. Honestly, he said, not too good right now. Kaden, our nephew, had been dropped and hit his head. I knew this in the dream. He suffered brain damage from the fall and now, Ryan explained, he was very lethargic yet very happy all the time. Kaden was never like that before. He was loud, and overall a disobedient child of sorts, but we all loved him anyway. He was just a kid. Now he would never be loud again and he would never disobey. Ryan really did look broken up over this.
I started to explain what happened with the letter from Dad and how Mom didn’t get it- that it was from him. He didn’t seem to know what I was talking about as I was telling him about it but I got cut off from finishing everything I was saying when I noticed my mom walking up to the house with my dad. He looked older than the last time I saw him. He was wearing khakis. I’ve only ever seen him in jeans. He had that on and a button up shirt, which is his style, but in lighter colors. His hair was becoming littered with grays and seemed to fray out. It was still long. He had that facial hair still, but more than his usual mustache. It was more of a handlebar mustache with some extra on his chin. I looked at the two of them walking together and suddenly became overjoyed and I started laughing. My brother tried asking what I was laughing at. I couldn’t explain, I could only laugh, and what was so funny was that I was trying to convince my mom that dad had sent her this letter, but once I saw him I remembered that he’s been dead since I was twelve. I was standing there in front of my brother laughing so hard at my folly and it turned right into crying. I was crying because I saw my dad again, finally. I was hugging my brother, caught in-between sobbing and laughing. I just couldn’t pick one.
            It looked just like him, but years older. It’s been over ten years now. When he died, I thought maybe, just maybe someone that dressed just like him and looked similar came into our slightly remote home in Black River Falls and walked into my dad and stepmoms room and shot himself right there on the bed, through the right temple. I thought that maybe it had been a big mistake and I’d see my dad again, someday. I cried back then. I remember that. Seeing him in that dream was that reunion I had been waiting for- laughter and tears. Joy and sadness. Then I woke up right before my alarm was set to go off. My face was dry. I wasn’t crying at all. Not even close.
            They say that if you die in a dream you’ll die in real life. I never believed that. I know there’s a connection between the physical body and the dream state. You can injure yourself in a dream and wake up sore. But I didn’t wake up crying. If I had my say in the matter, though, I would have.


  1. riveting. i feel like that sounds cheesy, but i mean it.

  2. I believe that riveting would be a good word, by definition, to describe the state of being that reading this would leave a person in. I understand. It is. After all, I had to write it!

  3. well then,
    riveting it is.
    makes me want to hear more about your life.

  4. looks like i should be writing more, then!!