It’s that pretend strength that cuts me every time. I think it wouldn’t be so hard if you cried. I would, too, and we’d sob together for a while, then hung up. Maybe a bit more content.
Remember when grandma used to say that in the end, there’s only sorrow to share. When the gates are locked and the paint stripping from the walls, there’s only sorrow to share.
But no. You joke, and you tell those silly stories that nobody cares about. And I can picture you sat on those damned stairs. I can see the mute tears, swiftly wiped with your trembling hands.
I fall apart when I hear you laughing, hopelessly clinging to the pretense. I can see the desperate eyes looking around for an image of me; for a distant memory of the little girl in her silly dresses. And you find it, you find it everywhere. You can see me running around in the garden, playing in the little swing you used to build every year. You can see me making little crosses for the dead bees.
I can picture you walking to the fields after, sitting on the old bench by the well. Your eyes lost now, your body numb. Perhaps you wish the cows and the horses would die already, so you could too. Perhaps trying to remember where you left that cursed bottle.
You’re my home, dad. I’m sorry I never call.