I've been taking a creative writing course online, sort of a refresher; it's been really helpful. I had a writing prompt exercise where I chose a random phrase for the beginning of a sentence and then, I had to complete the sentence. I chose, "My father is . . . ." I think I chose it because I haven't thought about dad in a while. I mean, he flutters in and out of my thoughts often, but I haven't had a real good deep pondering thought about him. So, I chose, "My father is . . ." After an hour, all I came up with was "My father is -- dead." Finally, here's the rest of what I wrote:
My father is -- dead. He has been dead for over four years. Every now and then, when I forget to remember him, I think that is when he is dead to me, too. I hate that. I hate that because I don't want him to be dead. Instead, I want the reason that I haven't thought about him or spoken to him to simply be because I forgot to call. Like maybe, I forgot to call and ask if his knees were still bothering him, and then listen to him say he wished I were there to massage them. Or that I forgot how I came home after a hard day's work and laughed at all the ridiculous messages he left on my answering machine. And then, without a thought, I deleted those messages knowing that tomorrow or the next day there would be more messages from him.
I want the reason that I didn't pick up the phone and say, "Happy birthday, dad" to be because I forgot to call and wish him a happy birthday or that I forgot to send his father's day card on Father's day because I had put off going to the post office for a stamp. I want "inspiration" to be the reason that I sent him a letter out of the blue and included a twenty dollar bill with a note saying, 'Here's your lunch money. Don't spend it all at once.' I don't want the reason that I can't do any of these things to be because he's dead. I don't want that to be the reason, but it is . . . because he is.