Written by -M. Taggart
His father never called him. And when he called his father, it was generally ignored. If he wanted to see his father he drove to his father’s house and knocked on the door. Sometimes the door wouldn’t open. Other times it would open before he reached the steps. He never knew which father he was going to get. He was never asked inside. His father was too ashamed of the interior of the house. They’d sit on the steps and talk sports. Or about beer. Sometimes they would talk about government corruption and always they talked about humanity. Never, though, did he step inside.
One time he drove to his father’s house to find his father passed out drunk in the driveway. He went to town, bought a six pack of beer, and came back. His father was still passed out in the driveway. He didn’t care. He loved his father as he was. Even if his father didn’t love himself. When his father finally woke, he offered him a beer. It was still cold. His father took it, drank half down, and said “Did you see who they voted in? This isn’t for self desire to love what’s to come, it’s for self duty to be what is!” He wasn’t sure what that meant, but they talked about politics while drinking beer for the next two hours.
A large cloud, shaped like a simple circle, produced shade on the mountainside. He thought it looked nice. He liked how the wind was just strong enough to push the leaves in a continuous hurry. It was easy to watch.
He used a stick to draw a circle in the dirt. He was sitting on a rock just above the water line. The riverbank mud and dirt was spattered with leaves and smelled of organic waste. It was going to get worse before better. He knew this. He wished the getting worse part would go nicely on him the way a mean dog eases up just before biting and instead of biting only shows teeth and raises its fur. Maybe death is like that. Maybe you only feel bad for a small amount of time, and then you’re free. He drew an ‘X’ in the circle.
The cloud had moved on and now he thought the mountainside looked bright and alive. He tossed the stick into the river, watched the creation of water rings disperse, and pulled his knees into his body. He felt as though he were hovering just about his body. Looking forward, searching for another kind of shade, he saw double as tears filled his eyes, then saw nothing because he would not blink.
He missed his father. He wished he’d been able to spend more time with him. Now the option of time is gone. He wanted to drive to his father’s house, sit on the steps, and talk. Because talking to his father’s steps is better than not talking at all. And he thought if he ever has a child he’ll sit on those same steps and tell exactly how everything was instead of hiding how it should be.