My mind is finally free to dream of my father. I dreamt last night of him in his prime, a big figure in denim and a white tshirt, tan army cap on his head. Bigger than me by far, sitting legs akimbo on a stool. He brings out a package of bubbles.
When mom came from Poland, he said, and we had you this is the first toy you had. I blew bubbles for you. Neither of us knew how to use them until we tried.
My youngest child Guthrie was in the dream. He loved the bubbles. We played with them. I woke and lumbered to the bathroom for a long piss.
Why is he only coming to me now? In his prime? Maybe I identify with the old him more now. I felt his presence in my body last night while bottling wine in the basement. The manual process of filling and corking reminded me of his habits and hobbies. I sat down like he did, heavy, needing a load off.
The world has rubbed off my dream dad. The Rush Limbaugh the Fox News. The bad jokes and strange behavior. The cancer diagnosis. The wasting. The tap in his lungs that turned to a rasp. All those things that I missed in the years I had been gone to college and New York. He had an eBay habit that resulted in boxes and boxes of junk watches, knives, and jewelry. He did the eating and overeating thing. The huffing walks to the toilet. The falling. The police coming to lift him because I was too weak.
That’s not him anymore and I’m glad. My sleeping mind wants memories my waking mind can’t access. Memories of a man before anger at the world turned to anger at those who loved him.
So all that washed off him like mud washed from a buried stone. All that’s left is the thing that made a young boy stare up in awe at a man too big for life. When the life is washed off and you see what’s left it’s usually good.
Photo by Gary Samaha on Unsplash