One of the nights when I was back home my brother took Big Love and I up to my Dad's house. I hadn't ever been in it, didn't even know where it was because he had moved there some time after my last visit.
It was located just a mile or two from town and the view was beautiful. He showed me the land that had finally become his six months previous after renting it for a year or two and the shop where 'it all happened'. Seeing the shop made me happy. Because I could tell he was happy in it building the beautiful things that he did. There was so much space for my Dad to build his things and lots of light coming in. My brother had bought him some cushioned squares to put in the places where he spent most of his time standing and from what he said, my Dad couldn't get over how much more comfortable it was to stand on them rather than the hard concrete floor.
When I walked into the house I was surprised. The cabinets looked similar to what mine did when I moved into this house 6 months ago. I can honestly say that I was a little sad at the state of things considering he had built beautiful cabinets for everyone else but couldn't afford to build them for himself. (He did build gorgeous cherry wood cabinets for the house we grew up in.) The rest of the house needs a lot of work, too. But it will get that work done just before my sister and her family move into it. I can totally understand why they want to move in.
On a cabinet just when you walk into the house there was a small tape recorder. Those old ones with the itty bitty tapes. I took it and started fast forwarding and playing, forwarding and playing, forwarding and playing. In my head I started getting frantic. "What the fuck do I think I'm going to find?" I said out loud. His voice. I know I wanted to hear his voice one more time. And if I'm really honest I wanted to hear him talking to me, telling me he was sorry that he wasn't able to be more of the father and build a bridge for us to meet on. Dad, why was it so hard for you to listen to me and talk to me? I only wanted to be heard and loved.
My sister found Wally Lamb's book The Hour I First Believed in my Dad's house even before I got there. I loved his other books and since my sister kept my Dad's copy I ordered my own shortly after getting back from our trip. (She would have sent it to me but I wanted to get reading it as soon as possible.) For the most part I spent the kid's nap/quiet time in the afternoon reading it a chapter or so at a time with coffee that my sister had sent with me in a cup she had given me clasped in my hand. I read every page carefully and here again I found myself looking for something. My Dad hadn't gotten very far in the book, maybe only a chapter or two, but there was part of me that hoped I would find something on the pages that would speak to me, that would help all of this hurt go away and leave only peace in its wake. And miraculously give me some answers as to why our relationship had to be so damn hard. I know part of it was my fault, but I got so sick and tired of being hurt, Dad, that I just had to stop. And I'm sorry for that, but it was all I knew how to do. Now I hurt in such a different way and it won't stop either.
Everywhere I turn these days I'm hoping something will help all of this make sense. If it could come all at once and make everything crystal clear... well, it won't and if I'm lucky I'll get little pieces here and there that will eventually show me a bigger picture. For now nothing makes any sense. And I'm trying to be ok with that.