Hot and wet the burden of the morning was still upon his shoulders like a steamy rain coat. The summer afternoon was in the process of outdoing itself cooking everyone to a fricassee. His sense of palpable reality had barely readjusted itself since he had arrived back into the dank coolness of his own apartment. A hot shower, a couple bottles of cold mineral water and closing his eyes upon the living room lounge floor had somewhat revived him to a usable state. The reason to be had been leached out of him during the several mile hike along the city’s lakefront. Ninety-two degrees felt more like a sweltering hundred and twenty. The city’s foremost fountain over spilling mist from it seventy foot column of water that couldn’t have been more timely discovery. Would that so many other thoughts and recollections from the near recent past might have been alleviated in so simple a manner. One’s obstacles like one’s life never go away. Not until they are knocked over or simply driven the long way around. The chill of the air was beginning to take hold.
The disparity between the morning and his recent awakening made him edgy. Life today was a walk through a cemetery counting the names of those that had once been alive. Except in his case he could recite more than the last date of their demise. He didn’t look so nice as he had once did. Fat and pouring sweat bathing in his own uncomfortable natural stewing about the past when he should been attempting to live out the present with as much positive energy as anyone without the benefit of more than a decade or so left. Why did his memories have to be so grim and unsupportive of any possibility of happiness? The present as he now knew it had degenerated into a waiting game. A self-engendered mental trap that had him saying goodbye to life far before the tickets for departure had arrived. A convenient way of not having to go through the endless repetition of having to be reminded himself that his life had descended into the status of a random pile of unkempt memories. The haphazard collections of the same tossed about in an irreconcilable state of perpetual chaos. A solitary Cavatina of his soul long ago emptied of joy now filled only by the gathering dust.
He thought of his childhood. And all the times he was taken reluctantly along to his father’s mother’s house to find her over a hot stove sweating into an old aluminum pot of boiling potatoes. Dressed in a pink slip with a safety pin holding together a broken strap a cigarette dangling from wryness of her thin lips. The ignoble sight of same exactly as he had seen her do so on every occasion. Of how he had grown to hate her for doing so. Her perpetual celebration of poverty. And the bitter mean spiritedness about her embodied to this day in a persistent picture stuck within his own mind. She had cheated him and beaten him on occasion as she had his father as a boy. So much so that as she lay dying in the hospital from cancer some years later, he would not offer solace to the troubled musings of loss in his own father’s face. Just merely feigning ignorance over indifference upon a barely concealed thin veil of angry good riddance. Now a half of century later the laments had been birthed in his father’s expression being in a similar corollary to his own. A sense of being orphaned by too many misspent opportunities from now unreachable times past still locked within the depths of his own memories. One’s that reminded him of how his father was so sorely missed now that he had been gone so long. Boiled potatoes.
Taras Bulba. That old movie version where in the end of the film the father reluctantly kills his only son who has ultimately betrayed him by going over to the enemy The insoluble problem of later life not whether one should forgive their own father so much as whether he could ever forgive his son. Happy Father’s Day.