Wednesday, July 30, 2003


My bones this morning feel like a haunted house, creaky and uninviting. They are angry about something but won't tell me what. They are uncooperative bones but they are also the only ones I have.

Now, I know I'm not old enough to have arthritis but I can't help but think that this morning's spontaneous symptom is a result of getting older. And if that wasn't enough of a reminder, as I walked to the subway this morning I saw a small boy pass me by and I noticed my jealousy for his age, his naivete. Being a child is a very enviable place to be, it's a time when everything is, to simplify it, quite simple. In retrospect, I don't remember specific scenarios of disregard and carefree-ness but I do vaguely recall that I had nothing on my mind, not of any importance. Nothing of any weight penetrated my gummy bear-ed life.

My father would always chide with me how great it was to be in my position. How every Friday he would take me to the comic book store and he would wait until I picked out all the desired titles, and then we went home. Now you've taken care of your responsibility, he would joke. We can rest until next week.

And as silly as that sounds, that is completely accurate. With him in my life, I worried about nothing.

The funny thing is that even though I am older, and I feel the aging regularly like a flaming post-it note reminding me to count another day passing, I still very much need my father. Yesterday, someone asked me about my insurance policy and how I signed up for it. The sadness of that is that I had no idea--my father had filled out all the paper work. While many saw it as a spoiling of sorts, I saw it as his duty. This was the job of Daddy, to make things as uncomplex as possible for his child. It is something I look forward to with my own. I will gladly embrace that duty.

On occasion, I have conversations with some friends about the relationships they have with their parents and I always hear the same thing; you don't understand our relationship. It's very different, they'll say. It's not like you and your father's.

Well, the truth is that--as far as I can tell--all relationships with parents take a great deal of effort. It requires an uncountable amount of patience from both sides. Patience, unfortunately, I no longer have to employ (although, my dear Mother, who I love greatly, sometimes keeps me in practice).

The child I passed this morning also grabbed my attention because he was walking hand-in-hand with his father. He had not reached the cynical age when affection was no longer cool. In fact, in pop culture today, as it has been for quite some time, it's very uncool to adore a parent. But not as far as I'm concerned. Truly there is nothing more wonderful than a child enjoying time with a parent. On occasion, I will become conscious of a father and his son and I will appreciate it like art in a museum. Observing the infinite points that make it worth more than any bidder at an auction could raise. And it doesn't make me sad, it makes me very happy, it brings memories back. The times when things were simple.

I also once had a conversation (I have them often) with a very close friend about the responsibility of raising children. He was nervous about the concept of bringing people into this world and releasing them into the chaos of every day. I passionately contested his philosphy. To bring a child into this world is so inspiring that I anticipate it like a bursting water balloon.

Oddly enough, my bones are hurting a bit less. It could be that my analogy of a haunted house was more appropriate that I thought. Perhaps I ache because my father is with me right now, flowing in my blood, circulating in my brain. Occupying the marrow in my bones. Perhaps my memories are holding his hand, swinging hands, carefree and childlike.

I miss him.


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