72

Today I’m celebrating my dad’s birthday, his 72nd. He only lived to 66, but I think there’s something beautiful about celebrating the day someone you love arrived, whether or not they’re still here.

On his 67th birthday I arranged a trip with several friends to a drag show in Boston. He would have loved to be there. The sexy, six-foot MC in feathers even wished him a happy birthday, and that seemed just right. I still use his wallet and wear his red flannel shirt. I still remember his stories and share them.

I think at 72 his hair would have finally turned gray. (It was only starting to when he died.) He’d still ride his bike, but not as fast and in less teeny tiny shorts. He would still eat deep dish pizza, still sing while he flipped his eggs in the morning, still use his typewriter even though he had a shiny Mac upstairs. He’d be eager to come to my wedding next year. We’d have discussions about the last dance.

Funny, how I don’t miss him the way you’d think one would, even though I think about him all the time. I don’t believe he’s watching over me; I don’t envision him sporting a pair of wings. But I do feel like he’s here. Bear with me through a strange metaphor. The world is steaming water and my father was a tea bag steeped nice and long. There’s no getting rid of him now.

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