Memory – Kate Zurvochak

I knock on the door, but you don’t turn around. You never do. Nevertheless, I still wait a few seconds before entering. I guess it’s a bit of a habit. I may not be a child, but I still abide by your rules. Shutting the door quietly, I look around the study. You are an avid reader, you always were. I take a cursory glance over the authors I know so well. Dickinson. Poe. Hemingway. When I was little, you would lie on the bed beside me and read to me. I remember how happy you were that I wanted a book for my fifth birthday, instead of a doll. I’m afraid that you are going to become immersed in the imaginary world of literature and never return to me. The wooden walls and floor are as dusty as the bookshelves. You blend in well. Your arms are clasped behind your back as you stare out of the window. I can only imagine your thoughts. A picture of mother sits on your desk. Her smiling face has smiled from that desk for nearly fifty years. Her auburn hair shines bright, and her green eyes shine even brighter. I wish that I could find the courage to walk up to you, and wrap my hands around your cold, stiff fingers. I wish that I could hold you in my arms and tell you that all is not lost. I wish I could bring mother back. I see the wrinkles on your collared shirt and black dress pants. If she were here, she would never have let you get away with wearing wrinkled clothes. She took good care of you. Your hair, once a soft brown, is now gray and lifeless, just like you. Standing near the picture of mother, I wait. I wait for you to acknowledge my presence. My poor father, why do I try? I promised you that I would never leave you alone when you grew old and feeble. I promised that I would care for and love you. I wished that you had promised the same. I’m here with you now, but we are both lonely. You don’t recognize your own daughter, and I don’t recognize my own father. But I love you all the more for it. You used to say that love is tested in times of darkness. If love outlasts everything, do you still love me, dad? Did love outlast your memory? I pray that it did. I love you, but it’s very hard to love the blank stare that extinguished the twinkle in your eyes. How can I love something that is absent of love and life? But I’ll try. I will try to love you and your blank stare that pierces my heart. I love you, Dad. Walking to the window, I stand by your side. Although we are together, we are apart, watching the rain fall.

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