Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 13, 2012

A number of years ago (16?  18? 20?) my mom, brothers and I lived in Iowa City, in a house where our dad no longer lived.  He came over sometimes, though, to see us, and bring us things like a whole canister of Pringles just for me, or giant chocolate Easter bunnies.

(At the time, that seemed so damn cool.  Now I realize what we really needed was new soccer cleats or toothpaste).

He came over on this day, however many years ago, for a family birthday party that my mom was throwing him – giving him – for us.  I remember that we had cheese curds, and a new VCR, and other treats to make this day special. 

And it was special.  Until it wasn't. 

He was on a bender, and rambling, going off about how he could never be the right kind of man for us, the kind like my uncles, or the neighborhood dads.  I sat on the porch with him, not knowing what or how to answer.

It is one of the clearest memories I have of him.

Many of my childhood memories are like this, fragments of days that were supposed to turn out one way, and instead went another.   I could write more like this -  like the time the cops showed up in the middle of the night, to haul him away, handcuffed.  Or the time he wrapped his beloved Dodge around a telephone pole.  Or the time I had to call my mom from Godfathers Pizza, to tell him Mike had ordered a drink.

March 13 is a hard day for me, much like April 6.  It’s a day where the sad reality of his life smashes in to the wasted possibilities.  What could have been, and what should have been, and what isn't.

Happy sixty-four, Mike.  Rest in Peace.

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