Fathers(s): An Open Letter

I lost the view I had when he died. The balcony I stood on, I looked out to the sky and the water, and then accusingly, at the city where my father lived for the last fifteen years of his life. It was never my home, my balcony. I borrowed that view, that sky. I borrowed other people’s fathers from the television, books. None of them stuck any more than he did.

Dear Dad,That word floats around in my head without any tether. Do you remember the discussion, when I met you again and didn’t know what to call you? This or that name. Even now the word is foreign in my mouth, as meaningless to me as another language, one I’ll never learn. I would have taken care of you, if I’d known. I like to think so, at least.

Dear Father by the sea,I liked the way you sat so patiently as your children buried you in sand, and then made hair for you from kelp. That must’ve smelled awful. I think patience is a beautiful quality.

Dear Father of a friend,Where do I begin? You did a terrible job. How many times did you tell me I was beautiful, while she waited, and waited. I was glad you weren’t my father. I remember cringing while I smiled and said thank you.

Dear Fathers in storybooks,I release you. Peeled my fingers one by one; scared to be falling. So maybe I did wish for you once, like the way I wished for a two story house, a puppy of my own, a barbie car. Wishes that centre around people are not to be trusted, they are too impermanent.