In the dream, he comes back to me, whole and young.
He was always young in my eyes. When I used to ask him at each birthday how old he was, Daddy would answer, 45.
He was always 45 in all the years I knew him. All the years I was living, he was dying.
In the replaying of images, I play it differently.
I keep my distance until he asks for me to bring his slippers or newspaper. I offer them with bowed head. I don’t throw them at him as I used to. Escaping his rage, escaping the beats.
I keep my distance, but I want to be close to him. To hold him. To feel his love for me. Then and now, still needed after so many years gone.
To serve, he brought me up, to serve. Instead of getting the vacuum clearer out, he had us on the floor picking up the bits of fluff and crumbs. To hear his pride at a job well done was enough.
When I enter the chapel of rest, it’s like I’m floating on air, light as the flowing curtains concealing a prize. I see him now, as then …
he‘a surrounded by gold satin, his mahogany black skin shines, relaxed and unlined, sea-black lips wave-curled and still.
He looks younger than 45. Even though the plaque on the coffin lid reads 1920 -1981 – he was 61. And the time he was dying. I was living.