Not sex, but rather, driving a car.
I am cat sitting this weekend. A friend and her husband needed a last minute cat sitter in order for them to make their annual trip to the New Orleans' Jazz Fest. I jumped at the chance. Time alone in a nice house in one of the few charming neighborhoods in Austin? And I get to stay with two cute cats? I jumped at the chance. In addition, I get use of one of the two hybrid vehicles owned by the family. (They are both college professors. Makes sense now, doesn't it?)
So I filled up the tank with gas and drove to my father's grave. I hadn't seen it before, and I'm not really sure why I wanted to, but I did. The anniversary of my father's death is also the day of my birth. Talk about cursed luck?
I didn't really get emotional and I only cried a little. My mother has been to my father's grave twice and had once attempted to make me feel better (maybe I was at a low point, I'm not sure) by saying that he was in a very lovely spot. Well, he, or his remains rather, are in fact in a very lovely little soft rolling hill which, because of the recent rains, is soft with fresh green grass. His stone was a simple white granite of the type seen in Arlington National Cemetery. My father is buried in a veteran's cemetery. When my mother had tried to describe my father's resting place to me I was far too abupt, rude surely, and said, "Mother, he's dead. I don't think he cares where they put him." I quickly apologized.
One of my coworkers (the obnoxious writer) and I had a conversation about parents and my father came up. "Daddy issues" was the way he belittled my preoccupations. "I've got bigger problems than Daddy Issues. My mother and I have serious problems." Oh really? I tore into him. "Well my father is fucking dead asshole! I can't try and 'address' anything with him. That's done. If there were things I should have said to him, there are no fucking do-overs. You, you at least have the opportunity to try and right whatever it is you feel is wrong with your mother. She breathes. If you want another chance, it's still there. The only thing stopping you is you. Try doing any of that when she's dead."
My coworker didn't say anything else to me.
I've known my father was dead. Yet somehow, there was something very final about seeing his headstone. The inscription says, "Gone, but not forgotten." I don't know who chose it. I know it wasn't me. I like it though. It's really rather appropriate, because try as I might, I can't seem to forget him or remember that it's okay to let go of any of my anger toward him, and that it's even okay to just cry when I miss him and thank him for the gifts he did give me. I dance, I sing, and I groove along to the beat of my own twisted drummer because I inherited a little bit of soul from a man who once knew what it was to live life with simple joy. In the end he traded all of that in for hard drugs and hard drinking and died too soon, but he used to live, he used to laugh, and he used to dance. He shared these things with me, they are my father's legacy barreling through my veins.
I may not be rich, powerful, or beautiful . . . but I'm a singing, dancing, and loving fool because I learned from a beautiful man that it's okay to be that way.