ø (empty set)
I don't have a pretty run-in for you here, or a way to lace together these words in a way that has meaning or resonance. In the end, they're just words, the words of someone who is up at one in the morning and who is thinking through keystrokes instead of being asleep, like she should be.
I've known for a while it was coming; this marks the fourth time this holiday has come around and my approach is no better, no cleaner. I ignore it on the way up, duck the questions if asked, and try to let it slide back down into the 'finished' calendar days as quietly as I let it come.
It's a noble goal, anyway.
My father died four years ago. We weren't close, and I thought at the time that his death sealed the nature of our relationship in amber. By definition, it seemed to me that it could not change, because his life was now finite, end-stopped. Except I forgot something: a line with only one fixed endpoint has another endpoint, one that still changes, still moves.
I revisit memories from time to time. Their basic substance does not change; what I remember is what I remember, no more and no less, but my perspective on my memories changes as I change. I am within a hand's-span of years of the age he and my mother were when I, the late-coming child, was born; as I get older I find a little more kinship in the black-and-white photos, and I realize how little I know.
I'm at a loss as to how to celebrate the holiday because we barely celebrated it when he was alive; odd that I would feel the largeness of the empty space now, after all this time, all these years. I swipe my eyes between sentences and wish that we had been different people, somehow; that I could look back and point to specific memories in my past and say, "There. That is who we were to each other."
There is nothing to point to. The absence of a positive thing is not always a negative; sometimes it is a empty set, a lack of anything at all.
That's only odd if you consider that we lived in the same house for sixteen years.
As I get older, closer in chronology to the years in which his life overlapped mine, I find myself seeking similarity in personality. Am I like him? Did we enjoy similar things? Can I look to his past for cues to my future? Had he lived, would I have eventually learned to stand on my own and be myself defiant, to say "I might not be the younger daughter you wanted, but you can learn to deal with what you've got"?
Happy Father's Day.