Sunday, August 14, 2005

message in a bottle

A death, my father’s, was just predicted to me. My aunt Herta, his sister, the only person that I know to still be in contact with him just called me to let me know that he was really ill, sick, and that there was nothing else they, the doctors presumably, could do for him. It was hinted by her and understood by me that he was going to die very soon. The one question I really wanted to ask, I didn’t out of superstition that a timeframe uttered would condemn him to that timeframe or just out of a general social propriety that I couldn’t even shake off to ask the thing I really, really was curious about - how much time he had left and when he was going to die.

From her tone, just from her calling me, which she rarely does – I knew, I know that things are serious and that at most he probably has a couple of weeks left to live. I got his address from her and I think I am going to smoke some weed and write him, say things, send a bottle of something, a message out there that I doubt I will get back, that the person may not read, may not understand, and may not reply to. But I would hate for things to end and feel as if I did not make clear my love of him, of life, and how shitty things were. The thought is what really scares me, not his death so much, but the thought that this really will probably be the last words of mine that he consumes, that what I write to him will be the end of our conversation. Is one less reader a diminishment of your own voice, a small death of yours, or is this my self-centeredness again, thinking an actual death of someone should be fodder for analogies about my own death?

His death was predicted a couple years ago and he has lived past that point, managed to get himself arrested, and now will, unless he manages to sidestep death again, die in some medical jail in North Carolina way past the point in time someone already had dotted with his death. And so, for the reason that I have been anticipating it for so long, thought it was already going to happen, I am not that scared, not that surprised, not even as emotional as I think I should be given that this is my father, the man responsible for half of my genetics, that I had and do have so many issues with him – that yes, this should be a bigger deal than it is. And maybe it will be when it happens, but I am not into predicting those things.

Herta told me I should try to contact my sister who is halfway across the world in Indonesia and who hates our father and I am so tired of people having their life thrown into emotional disarray by him and don’t want to write her, but know I should. I also don’t want to tell my mom either because it has been constant turbulence for her, her life constantly being shaken by his recklessness and now she’s getting married in three weeks and I really, really want this not to be happening right now, for it to wait two months so that this doesn’t overshadow my mom’s joy at getting remarried to an awesome person.

And so this long chapter that has been going on for what seems so long is finally picking up narrative steam and heading off toward some sort of conclusion and it is sad talking to Herta because she is obviously holding back tears talking to me and this is her brother and it means something to her, his impending absence that it has yet to mean to me. The two of us are reading different texts, not even the same chapter, totally different books and it is the same character soon dying that we are reading about.

I don’t like how we don’t say everything, how my mom and my sister don’t know about this and how I feel guilty for having to tell them, as if communication is the problem and not the thing being communicated. I want to be and I am going to be open and free and loving and alive and I want everyone else to be also and maybe by doing this actually, by being these things I can make the people I am interacting with comfortable enough to live also.

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