Caught off guard

I know very well that my dad is no longer here. All my friends and family know it too. It’s easy to bring him up because we know the state of things and know that any mention of him is an anecdote of some ridiculous thing he has done. Sometimes it feels like I’ve hit a place where my heart has acknowledged his death so well that it’s as fine as it can be with the situation.

But then something happens and my heart is afflicted and suddenly remembers how to feel. These things that happen are never anything seemingly big though and you can’t prepare for them.

Back when there was hope that my dad could make it to Yvonne’s wedding, we both picked out songs for Father-Daughter dances. Mine was supposed to be Quelqu’un m’a dit by Carla Bruni, which luckily doesn’t come up on radios often. Yvonne’s was to be My Girl by the Temptations, which comes up decently often. It’s all I can do to stop tearing up when I hear it in public, thinking of our missed opportunities caused by stupid cancer taking my dad’s life.

A lot of the things that we have in our garden we’ve had for years and years. Moose, our old, blind-ish, and inconsiderate dog, decimated bleeding hearts by trampling, peeing, and pooping all over them; luckily we still have some in the front yard. We’ve also had day lilies for who knows how long, but last year there was some virus that affected the flower all over the city. When the flowers hadn’t come out this year, my mom said that we might have to dig them all up if they had been killed by the disease. It turns out that I associate the day lilies with my parents and the idea of having to replace something that has been there since before my dad died struck a chord. Thankfully, the flowers have come out and I don’t have to deal with this issue for at least another year.

We went glamping this past weekend for Yvonne’s bachelorette party. It was a really great time with only one little blip (besides dozens of bug bites). I’d like to brush it off because they were super wasted, but I can’t because they’re adults and lawyers. At this place, there’s only one campfire so it forces you to interact with other people if you want to be around smoke and flames. These drunken lawyers were fun and weird and nice, but when they found out that Yvonne and David have been together for a bit more than a decade, they acted like that in order to survive, they needed to know why they weren’t getting married until now. It wasn’t sufficient to know that “[they] met when [they] were young”. When Yvonne said, “It’s a long story and it’ll get heavy if I explain it,” they said, “So let’s make it heavy.” They were respectful after they heard it and said, “Thank you for sharing that with us,” but I think that’s what makes me particularly angry because we didn’t share the story; they forced it out of us. It’s our story to tell and I was fine when we explained it to the seamstress while getting Yvonne’s wedding dress altered, but I was not prepared for drunken lawyers in the woods.

My neighbours have a 3-year old girl and she’s pretty great. She’s recently become fascinated with our house since it’s different from her house, has dogs, and has cats. The other week she was following my mom around, asking her questions and generally being a child. I wasn’t there when this happened and I’m endlessly glad because even now, I don’t know how I would have reacted other than with what authors call “a sad smile” when she asked my mom, “When is Mr. Li coming back?”

I am afraid of making new friends and I am afraid of dating, but most of all I am afraid of things for which I cannot prepare myself.


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