What is tomorrow? Tomorrow is the day that I was going to call my dad. Tomorrow, a long, bright hallway stretching out in to forever. Tomorrow is the thing that happens after the facts, undone but unfolded no matter how much my feet drag. Eye to eye with the yellow light of tomorrow there is me, a fatherless daughter and there is him, a father still. But what kind of father is he now that it’s a day too late to make a phone call?
The big question is “where does one go when one dies?” Such an obtuse thing to think about, death. The dying part has been documented but death, a mystery. Someone who is dying can communicate still. Bright light, illuminated being in the corner, a beckoning gesture of the hand; carry on my wayward son, there’ll be peace when you are done, lay your weary head to rest, don’t you cry no more. A walk, long enough for ample reflection, down a bright hallway and then…
I’m trapped in my body. Not figuratively, though the poetry of that tastes good in my mouth, but literally. A knee surgery, no driving, working or anything beyond the most simple of tasks, keeps me tethered to my bedroom. I keep reaching for the reactions that have served me before and they’re not there. Nothing is there but my bed, the window to outside, cream walls and my feet sticking out from under the blanket. So that’s it for me right now. A grown woman who never really had a dad to speak of is now unpacking not having a dad to speak to.
My first instinct is to talk about him, to keep it fresh in my mind. To tell you all of the things, even the things that I don’t remember right now but that come to me as I type this. Like the way that he spritzed his wild hair with water in the morning to get the sleep out of it and how much it looked like a jheri curl. A white dude jheri curl dripping onto the shoulders of his Hawaiian shirt in winter. If I keep writing then I’ll keep remembering and the last moments won’t be the last moments. They’ll just be things done out of sequence. A life can’t be over when there are still stories being told.
A psychic told me today that he is with me. Behind me and to the right. I went to her because I’ve been having dreams that he can’t cross over and it rattled me. He was such a restless human, narcissistic but scared of life. The great comfort of this sudden death was that there was peace for him, its residue settling on those who loved him and wanted more for his life. Until my dreams told me otherwise, I surprisingly felt good. Softly good and quietly good, but good. She told me that he was sorry, they always say that first I guess. We die sorry. Something I know about death now. He wanted to be a better father but didn’t know how, he thought I was better off without him so he left me alone. I told her/him that I wasn’t better off, that I loved him, that I forgave him. That I would always find him in old rock lyrics and in the memories that remain. He asked me if he could stick around to help out for a bit and be the dad now that he wasn’t before, if he could just join the council of spirits that are always with me. She told me that there is no purgatory, that if he stuck around there would be peace for him still. As long as I needed him, he could stay. I said yes. Please stay. I still need you.
So what is tomorrow and what is death? Tomorrow is the day after today, a place for all of the things you haven’t done yet but are destined to do. Tomorrow isn’t a indictment for what has not been done or an escape from what has. It is just a long, bright hallway to somewhere else. And death? That I don’t know. Let me ask my dad.