Jan 24 2011
I had a dream about my father. In the dream, he was in his mid-forties, a few years younger than when he died. I was younger too, but not ten as I was when he died . . . I was in my early thirties.
I saw him across the room at an AA meeting. I saw him across the big circle of folding metal chairs, and thought he looked familiar. Then I looked in his eyes, my teetotaler father's eyes, and saw wariness and regret, and apology, and I knew it was him. I got up and spoke about how my father had died when I was very young, my mother had been crazy and how I'd been pretty mad about all that ever since. I paced and cried and stormed and told the whole story, but I never said, pointing, "And there he is!"
When I wore down, cried out, I sat down.
Then he got up and said he had faked his own death and left two young girls with their crazy mother and he was sorry for that.
The AA people's eyes grew big and round as they realized the story that was being revealed to them.
I wondered if people saw a resemblance between us, and they said they did: our long arms and legs and the way we walked, and the way we held our faces in certain expressions, eyebrows raised, lips slightly pursed.
He and I talked afterwards. I kept asking him, HOW COULD YOU LEAVE US???
He hadn't known what else to do, he said.
I saw you in the casket! You were dead!
I had pneumonia . . . was awful awful sick . . . and I had a thing in my side.
Did other people know? Did the undertaker know?
Yes, he knew.
He held me and I cried in his neck like the woebegone little girl he had left, but I didn't want to spend the time crying. I wanted to spend all the time I had smelling him. I wanted to smell his hair and touch his shoulders and look in his eyes. I didn't want to look away from him.
I was so angry at him, and so hurt, but I was so glad to have him back.
He had me stay with him and his replacement wife in their hotel room. They had two little kids, who were staying elsewhere, but there was a child size trundle bed.
I eyed the little bed. Does he expect me to sleep in that? Does he think I'm still as young as I was when he "died"?
But there was a rollaway bed too, and that would be mine to use.
The new wife was brunette, and pretty. She had a boy from an earlier marriage.
Oh my god, I thought. I have become part of a blended family.
At the end of the dream, there was some kind of treasure hunt. Clues led me to beautiful heirloom items in my cousin's house, but she wouldn't let me have them.
Then I woke up, a little moisture in the corner of one eye.
I was not quite present in this universe until noon.