I don't like anniversaries.
Not at all. Last two girlfriends were pretty okay setting things "around February." I don't remember the exact date I graduated -- especially with as little as I've done since. I have trouble with birthdays. Which isn't to say they're not important. They are. They're amazing.
So are anniversaries. But I still don't like them.
One year ago today, my Dad died. While I'm writing this, he was in the process of dying. Or was dead. Or was about to die. The time, on the death certificate we finally got, nary three months ago, was vague. I don't know why I'm getting hung up on that part of. It doesn't make much difference, and it's morbid to run over in my head again and again.
It doesn't feel like it's been a year. It feels like it might have happened last month. Which, I guess, is an improvement on it feeling like it happened just yesterday, like it did, like everything did until a short while ago. People would call that... progress. I don't think it's progress. I feel like a whiner. Someone who should have gotten over it already. Let it go.
I cope for shit. Hopefully, one day, I'll be able to get some help with that.
Timing is everything. Dad died on Mother's Day. Which, as a roving holiday like it is, always falling on the Sunday, means that some years I'll get the distinction of remembering twice. Because he died on Mother's Day, even if Mother's Day isn't on the same day this year. And anyway, even if I didn't have that, he went on May 10. 5/10. Five, half of ten. The day's the double of the month.
I don't like math much either.
Story my Dad used to tell. He lost a friend of his in car wreck. Young deaths hit hard. I still remember Amanda from high school, and I didn't even know her all that well. Other than the fact that on one day, I came to English class mopey, and she smiled, and talked funny at me until I cheered up. Again, we weren't close, but she did that once, for me. Makes you remember, makes you miss a person. Sticks with you. Maybe I'm not joining a Facebook group over it [really? Is that how we remember people now?], but it still sticks with you. Especially when they go so long before their time.
This kid, this kid who was my Dad's friend, who died. Every year after, dad would take the day. Go out to his friend's grave, get drunk. Probably on George Dickel. My dad was a whiskey man. I don't remember him often drinking beer, though, maybe when he was younger... hard to say. But my dad would go to his friend's grave, and he'd drink, every year on the anniversary. June. Summer. Was it on the 21st? That's how he told it. That's how I tell it.
And then I was born. Summer. June. The twenty-first. 21. Black-jack. Suddenly, Dad had somewhere else he had to be, a reason not to go out, and drink. At least not on that day.
That's a pretty big reason. A birth. I'd put it up there with a death. Especially the birth of your son. I mean, I didn't know the guy. Maybe it wasn't quite even, maybe I wouldn't have measured up. But still. It was a reason. Replaced one anniversary with another.
I don't have that. I have May 10th.
I don't even know why I'm bringing it up again. I'm not the only person to have ever been hurt. I feel bad about it. I know at least one person hurt way worse by it. She shows it less too, or maybe she just doesn't show it to me. It's been a year. I should be over it, right -- moving past it, at least?
Definitely saw it coming. I guess that is the upside to an anniversary. Put back a lot of my work. Could have -- probably should have -- started the harder parts of this copy for the dental website days ago. Just did the research, just took the notes, just scrawled the paper drafts, also known as the the easy writing [trade secret - there is easy writing], and then, spent some time proofing all the legal forms they sent me. Thought I'd save the final copy. Throw yourself into your work, everyone says, it'll take your mind off of it, it'll give you something to do other than thinking about it. Which is bullshit. Either that, or I have a special brain, which can have lots of work to do and focus on, and also think about the thing that is stupendously depressing them.
I try not to side with explanations that make me out to be special in some way -- breeds elitism. Told I already have a problem with that.
On Thursday night, I went out. I was actually in a good mood, saw Justin and Staci, went to see Iron Man 2. Dad would have approved, would have enjoyed the movie a lot. Really would have liked Iron Man's drunken roar, hell, he even had a story that kind of went with that. And then the end. Man, if we'd have gone, and I could have gotten him to stay to the end -- no easy feat. Dad was a smoker. Even when he was trying to quit, two hours, just sitting in the theater, that compulsion was still there. But if I could have gotten him to stay...
Won't spoil it. Even though the cat's out of the bag. Dad liked those kinds of secrets, the ones you sort of already knew, but weren't supposed to. So you faked it. Faked it with that half smile, the kind that showed a canine tooth, a smirk you'd hide like you were cleaning your teeth. I do it too. Watch for it.
Oh, but if he'd stayed. Man, he'd really be looking forward to May, 2011. I mean, we used to subscribe to that shit, when... you know, I don't remember who was writing. But John Romita Jr. Beautiful, beautiful line work. Original character, called Marnot. I'm saying way too much.
Couldn't keep you around past the credits, could I Dad?
I had a really good time Thursday night. Great movie. Great company. Saw one really beautiful girl, the kind of girl who even though you really only saw her for a minute, she sticks with you. Hangs on you, like perfume. Dad would have approved [which is a little creepy, actually, but hey, sometimes, that was Dad]. And then I came home, around two or three.
Couldn't get Willie Nelson's "The Party's Over..." out of my head. Haven't even listened to the song in... well, about a year. Put it on a mix CD for Dad. For, ironically, a party he was having. "My boy put these together for me." Lot of music I hadn't listened to since high school. And Willie Nelson somethings you don't grow out of.
I really wanted this entry to be something different. Something special. But I don't know that I have all that much to say about it right now. This sort of stunted, stream-of-thought stuff isn't good enough, but it's what I have. Maybe posting it will make me feel better. Maybe not. I wish, tomorrow, I could do something special -- but there's no grave, and I don't really get drunk, not that I'm necessarily against the idea in principle anymore, just not in a place in my life where I should be doing that. Maybe a stack of comic books would just as good of a remembrance. That was our thing, after all. And that could happen -- all his books, not my books, mixed in with my books at least. I could crack one of those long boxes back open tomorrow. Laugh about me lecturing him over what he was doing to their spines.
Like it mattered. I'm not a speculator. It was probably just me breaking balls. Weird thing about the way mine and dad's relationship ended up was that I could do that.
Anyway. I think I'm done. Definitely not sleeping tonight. Maybe tomorrow. And man, I've gotten a ton of work done. Probably go back over my copy, again. Might wait until tomorrow. Sent out a couple of e-mails. Few last minute clarifications, to make sure everyone gets what they need. Important to get people what they need.
You should be here, Dad. A year later, and this still feels fucked up.