April 28, 2011
I don’t know if it is the cruellest month, but this year, for me, April is the weirdest. Most discombobulating. Very difficult to classify. Kind of a blur.
According to my journal and my bank statement (with an assist here & there from my actual memory), these are things I did in April of 2011: held court in a hospital waiting room, participated in a very hilarious, student-masterminded April Fool’s day plot involving a fellow teacher, lots of raisins, & a stapler encapsulated in Jell-O, bought a bottle of bourbon for a friend who moved into his first solo apartment, ate a chocolate cupcake for Easter breakfast, received & sent an obscene number of text messages, jumped on a trampoline at a backyard happy hour, booked a ticket to Atlanta to attend the engagement party of the woman who’s basically my little sister, drove Jill home from the hospital, drove Jill back to the Emergency Center the very next day, laughed a lot, cried once, graded a metric ton of student papers, and spent a blissful hour by the neighborhood pool with my headphones and a book.
Yesterday would have been my dad’s 69th birthday. That’s crazy, right? Just one year away from 70, which feels like a formidable number. I think my father would have made a good seventy-year-old. He would be excited about the Grizzlies being in the playoffs. He would be dropping un-subtle hints about his desire to be a grandfather. He would, I think, be very proud of me.
But to hell with all the warm & fuzzy imaginative shit. I want to drink beer with my dad. I want to break down the news with him: Syria, the Presidential birth certificate, and on and on. I want to cook him dinner (duh) and hear him sing and see him smile.
You know what else I want? To be on my A game, all the time. To know what the next few months will (and won’t) bring. To be able to actually say what I feel. To fly like the purple martins in my backyard. And even though I know I will never, ever have these things, my desire for them does not cease.
Me and my desire asked some friends to come over last Saturday. I made a little spread of things my dad would have loved: buttermilk biscuits (some with lard, some without), crazy-expensive imported jamon (which the dog, it turns out, is also a fan of), sliced radishes & dill on good, buttered bread, cucumbers with Indian black salt, fruit salad, guacamole, freshly squeezed orange juice, and Bloody Marys (made with the first good heirloom tomatoes of the year). My friends brought along things their dads would like, which added deviled eggs, sausage kolaches, beer, chips & salsa, pickled garlic, & a Bakewell tart to the table. We ate, we sat around. It meant something to me.
Were it not for all this wanting, I might lead some other kind of life. If desire is a fuel (and I think it is), then I believe I shall let it move me, all the way into the month of May.