Sometimes when I think about him memories, fragments of memories surface for me.
An image of a visit to the cemetery some 15 years or so ago, when my mum and I came to lay fresh flowers because it was Dad's birthday and we ran into my little half-brother with his mum. He was three years old, and all dressed up in neat little outfit completed with a little red bow-tie. He reminded me so much of a teddy bear in his toddlerhood my brother - he was all wide-blue-eyed and open-smiled and utterly, incorrigibly huggable. He was so sweet-tempered, so trusting, so ready to take your hand and follow you home that it constricts my heart to remember it.*
There are other memories, more torturous. Like the memories of my stepdad trying really hard to cheer me up with presents and a trip to the circus. My stepdad who was always courteous and dignified bringing me small gifts of various kinds of stationery (pink pens, I remember, a tiny notebook festooned with white hearts, and a little cardboard box shaped like a house whose roof lifted up)**; knowing in that moment that this was a man who would work hard on being part of my life and that I would need for my part to work on loving him, even though back then I wasn't ready to love anyone again and I just wanted to unexist.
Remembering my stepdad (in suit, and tie, and polished shoes - a man dignified to a fault) coming to take me to the circus where we sat on roughhewn benches, with our feet on a popcorn-sprinkled sawdust floor). We sat side by side in this awkwardness of him trying very hard to make me happy and me knowing he was making this huge effort and wanting to make an effort ot be happy for him - the whole thing made ever more painful by the presence of the spectre that followed me always and shared the bench with us - the wormhole , the odd-shaped hole that held The Absence of Father In the known Universe.
* Hahaha, please note the extensive use of the past sense in that sentence - he is actually pretty sweet-tempered still for a badass, bitch! young man (I judge him not for I know not to what extremes then enforced wearing of red bow ties in childhood would have driven me.)
**Can I remember where I put my keys? No. Can I remember down to the last detail images of stationery from 20 years ago? Why yes, naturally.
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