so i left again yesterday. i say again because every day i left my father for the evening it felt like leaving for a lifetime. because i was trying not to count down the days until i left for good, but i did it anyway. counted the days. and left. it seems like all i'm doing is leaving lately. this time, for good. is it? god. i hope not. but i can't think of it any other way.
i miss my father. i miss seattle. i can't not think of it as my home. i lived there longer than anywhere. and with no actual hometown left seattle became it. plus, and oh yeah, that's where my family is. and when your family is getting smaller it feels so far away to be so far away. it hurts like hell.
but i had to leave. and so i did. and because even in grief i can't go anywhere without tripping the wire that signals 'things are about to get weird' i set off security at the airport. they scanned my stuff and something was suspicious. so they put me in the slow cooker x-ray thingamajig. and that's when it got good.
'ma'am can you step over here.'
so i step to the side and a very beautiful woman in a very official uniform is talking into her shoulder radio (to the person who is looking at my x-ray somewhere else) and then informed me
'there were some areas of suspicions on your person. the uh, chest and upper inner thigh region to be exact.'
and the WTF bubble pops up above my head. so basically she's telling me my girlie parts are suspicious and tripped off some alarm. nice. not to reference pornos twice in one week of blogging lest i gain some kind of reputation, but really? i call 'em like i see 'em. and this is a seriously good set up.
'i suspect it's the bling on your shirt-'
okay. i have to stop the story and interject here. to clarify, i did not have 'bling' on my shirt. i do not own anything with 'bling' on it. BUT i did happen to be wearing this t-shirt i picked up on a whim to go with a skirt i refuse to wear because i can't find the right sandals. and this shirt happens to have a few sparkly seed beads at the v neck part. i'm not saying it's the most fashionable shirt, but it's cute and happens to have a FEW sparkly beads. which are NOT bling.
i'm not sure yet how my crotch tripped the alarm. but we're getting to that.
'i suspect it's the bling on your shirt. still, i need to wand you and then pat you down. where the bling is. in the area of your cleavage.'
and of course i want to make a joke. like 'well you're not my type but it's been a long time since i've seen my husband and you know what grief can do to a girl and i do like a drink first but what the hell carpe diem right?'
but of course i don't. because those fuckers on 9/11 made sure the airport can't be funny anymore. even though it's just good material going to waste most of the time. such.a.bummer.
so she gets down to business then she asks me to empty my left pocket because that's where it was suspicious on the screen.
so i pull out a wad of tissue and wouldn't you know it, FIVE lucky pennies. the ones i found on the floor of my father's room. i carried them with me once we took him into the hospital.
'those should have been put in the bins, ma'am. how deep does your pocket go?'
'i guess it's pretty deep.'
'well, it must have shifted toward the middle of your body. i will still have to pat down your inner upper thigh. please spread your legs and hold out your arms.'
so i do this and i can only wonder if life is really this amusing for others or if it's just me. my pocket full of lucky pennies shifted toward my girlie parts and now i'm being treated like a criminal. oh, and this is not a private exchange. i'm right there where everyone is bustling about to get shoes on and laptops back into cases and i'm just in their way.
'okay. you're good.'
and i want to say, well now how do YOU know? you only got to first base. but instead i say thank you and have and nice day and go to get my stuff.
and once i'm on my way in the airport this thing happens that's been happening since i was first in seattle. i keep seeing my father. not my father, of course, but i keep seeing men who 'could' be my father. you know, if he were well. if life had been different. if his life had taken a different turn. healthy, robust, on his way somewhere. for business or pleasure or life different from the one he has now. if he was really the travel writer he tells the nurses he is. if he had married the girl from high school he's loved since he first saw her. if he wasn't dying. if if if.
the lack of dignity in air travel depresses me. i fall promptly asleep when the plane takes off. and when i wake i trip the weird wire again. the 10 year old boy next to me is getting the news from his mother next to him that when he's 18 he will inherit one hundred thousand dollars. she's on her third bloody mary (and has to be told the bar is now closed) and seems irritated at telling him. she says she and his father wanted them to change it to 21 or 25. and that it's his to do what he wants when he's 18 but that she's his mother and he should do what she thinks is best. save it for a master's degree, or a doctorate. to put down on a nice house.
and the cynical bitchy part of me is like way to go lady. he's 10. go ahead, put this on him now. set his path.
but she's just being a mom. she wants for him all the good things. and if this means one narrow path that she decides is 'all the good things' then so be it. she's parenting the best way she knows how.
and i think about my father. and how he never encouraged me to go to college or to get my homework done or to 'pad' my high school resume with activities that 'look good.' i'm sure we never even discussed my high school resume. or why i missed 60 days of school a year to stay home and watch love boat re-runs. or why i failed nearly every math class i took. why they still moved me up, to the next grade. never once did he ask me what i wanted to be when i grew up or encouraged me to go for it.
now, this does not mean he didn't love me. or didn't parent me. like the drunk mother beside me he just did the best he could. and giving me wings was probably out of his grasp when all he was doing was just trying to hang on.
i think about this and i wonder at what i could have done had the woman beside me been my parent. did i miss out on anything? did i want to be a doctor or a lawyer? did i want my master's degree? in what? i am a nearly 40 year old stay at home mother of two with a half finished college education and i look like shit on paper. what did i miss?
and i realize i didn't miss a damn thing. that by my father not giving me wings i found my own. and i did what i found i wanted to do. i delivered babies on the border and got married and got divorced and had babies of my own and got married and everything i did i did because i wanted to.
well shit. not everything. who 'wants' to get divorced? and who wants the broken hearts and dreams that come with living a life, that come with not yet learning how NOT to be an asshole? but you get the picture. so for lack of a better word, 'want.' i did what i wanted to do because i wanted to do it. not because someone else wanted me to do it.
and while my resume would suggest otherwise, i am happy and accomplished. my heart and my life are full to bursting.
and i will tell you what, don't we all want that for our children? for them to follow their hearts and do what makes them happy? i'm not saying my father didn't have dreams for me, i'm just saying that the dreams i had for myself were able to fill the space left by his inability to do what the woman beside me is doing for her son.
and that is parenting the best way you know how. even if the kid has to pick up the slack. even then.
and just like that i become the weepy creepy woman on the plane. and i don't want to scare the boy next to me so i cry quietly. i wish i were home. and in awhile i am. well, in awhile i am in boston. 'home' for now. and i am happy to see my own boys and the husband. but i want to scoop them up and drag them home. not to poet's corner, our new home. but our 'home' home. back home. seattle. to be with my father. until it's not possible anymore. to be with our family. to build the fence around our hearts you can only build with family and friends and familiarity. i want to go home.
and i think to myself, girl, you better hold on. you are days away from being 40 and you knew life would be different, but you weren't prepared for this. this is the kinda thing that makes someone think whiskey in their morning coffee is a good idea. or 'i KNOW! let's have a BABY!' shit like that. this is gonna hurt like hell. so hold on and try to avoid the rabbit holes that seem to be popping up on the regular.
lather rinse repeat.