Do you ever wonder if, when you find yourself thinking about someone, they’re somewhere thinking about you too? I don’t know what is going on with all this dreaming about all these men from my past lately. The other night I had a dream about my father. Not Al but my real father. The biological one. Jim.
I dreamt I was getting married and my mother and I had this long conversation about whether or not I should invite him. Whether or not I should at least tell him. She, of course being the saintly woman that she is, favored the side of inviting him. I did not.
I know what brought this on. I tend to wax nostalgic about these things every year around my birthday. Does he miss me? Does he remember me? Remember he even has a kid? With a spring birthday? All of those questions are foolish really since it was ultimately my decision to end communication between us and yet… I still wonder.
I wonder and I remember.
I remember one summer I flew out to visit and we went straight from the airport to this church picnic on one of the hottest days of the summer. It was one of those Mississippi summer days that you can only relate to if you’ve experienced, right before a thunderstorm. Unbearably hot. Overwhelmingly humid. Still. I was miserable and yet… I didn’t want to complain because I was so happy to just be with my daddy, you know? And then finally the rain broke. Big fat raindrops. Raindrops so big that he joked that if one of them hit me square on, it’d knock me down.
I remember Rapids on the Reservoir. Shoney’s. Po’ Folks. Sunday dresses and big lunches afterwards followed by naps. Dipped soft-serve cones at DQ for dinner. Sweet tea. I remember I used to try and give him “massages” while he sat in the hot tub after playing with me in the pool all afternoon long. That the grass was always too long when I came to visit. The laundry and other chores never done.
I remember a trip to Florida. We went into the ocean and he wore his glasses. We got knocked down by a wave and when he got up his glasses were gone. We looked and looked but we never found them. His wife at the time (Connie?) was so angry with him but I didn’t care – it was like we were conspirators together. We talked the whole way home about how some fish at the bottom of the ocean could now see clearer.
I remember running around the church where Jim was a Deacon? Elder? Something. I would just run and run and run and play ducking under pews and the piano or organ. There were praying mantis. (mantises? manti?) Mississippi has cool bugs y’all. One year when I came out I found out the hard way I was too tall too run under the organ. I still have that scar under my left eyebrow.
I wish that these things were all that I remembered. I wish that I could choose my memories sometimes. Erase the others? Is that naïve?