The Wolfe once declared that you can’t go home again, but I’ve found that to be painfully untrue. Here, in the early dusk of Life, Loved Ones continue to fade away … like leaves and first loves and morning glories under the setting sun. Each sad and grateful passing beckons my beleaguered bones back to the bittersweet haunts of my very first Grand Adventures. Oh yes, and petty mischief.
Over and over I am called to revisit these grounds of Origin against my will as sweet memories and pangs of regret swell in their Battle for Attention. I am perplexed by Observance: everything dwindles twixt each visit to this place called Home. Billie Bob’s Thus-n-Such was buried by WalMart. Old-man Hooper’s Grocer doesn’t feed anyone anything anymore. But, the pawn shop will gobble your goods for quick petty cash. Yes Daddy, our once-green-and-fair hamlet now reeks of Progress and Old.
So, were the flowered walls of my youth always this sticky and confining? Was the green green yard where we chased bouncing rabbits with laughing fingers always this brown, wet, and small? The giant robust arms of my favorite climbing tree are now brittle and tired like Me. The squeaky colorful swings finally rusted into Ruin.
The heavy crystal ashtray, the one dripping with diamonds that cast prisms in Mother’s eyes, always waited with me for your return back in the day … the incense of coffin nails reliably announced your Presence and was always powerful enough to make me drop my dollies and run to your Embrace. There are no more marshmallows under the dining room table. Where did they go? Why aren’t they here anymore? Time surely swallowed them while it devoured my Childhood. And, when did I outgrow this giant little bed? Memory insists it was never this tiny during evening prayers with Daddy. “Give me the wisdom of Solomon, God. I want to be rich just like him.”
The floors of this Haven are now settled, sunken, and sullen. Or, is it just Me? Yes dammit, I curse the bloodstain on the carpet where you stumbled — Helpless and Alone. But by God, these blessed golden frames stand Witness to your Virility. So strong and proud in your Navy Blues. So painfully Handsome in your Sunday Best. Always happy with a hammer in your hands. Ivanhoe! Everything Good sprang from the sweat of your beautiful, curly Brow.
Your empty blue bed and my heavy heart sag with sadness. I bury my face in the sheets. They drink my Tears and together we mingle. But, your trusty pillow still smells like You. And, I will always look like You. Tell me, will your fragrance linger as long as You did? Will I? Everything dwindles except for this Grief which swells and looms larger and larger each time Death calls me Home.
on the passing of my father, april 25, 2016