He opened his eyes and looked at the clock. Something from a dream had woke him and something about the dream seemed to have opened a door, a door he closed again with the idea of possibly nailing it shut. This door, the door to his father’s room contained the memories of his fathers words and actions, his very essence, everything he could remember. He kept these items of the past locked away in a safe place to protect them. Hell who was he fooling? He kept them there to protect himself.
He touched the lamp by the bed, washing the table and floor with yellow light, and he turned off the alarm and he swung around and placed his feet on the floor, reaching back to scratch his neck at the base of his hairline.
His father held a persistent place in his memories. Floating through his days and his thoughts like an insolent ghost who cannot stay out of the places he does not belong. He sat looking at the floor, feeling the age in his back, feeling the years in his eyes and he tried to shake the thought of his father from his mind.
There were times when he still couldn’t actually believe he was gone, which was a foolish thought indeed—considering he’d been dead for forty six years.
He really didn’t know much about him. The kinds of conversations they had were of a parental nature and that of a father to his inquisitive young son. And most of the words were blurred like grease on a window, still there but unintelligible at best. He did know that he smoked, and drank. He knew that he fought in a war, and he knew that he loved several women. He knew that he played golf. He knew that he wasn’t very good at it—but he played anyway. He knew that he could play the piano but he never heard him play. And he knew that the he remembered the smile that brought tears to his eyes when he thought of it, just because he missed it so much.
Thoughts like these were something he’d grown used to. They came and went like a foggy mist, and burned away again when the son found the strength to shine. He looked at the tangle of covers beside him and he glanced at the man looking back at him reflected in the mirror hanging on the closet door.
He thought about how long it had been since he put the lock on the door of his father’s room hoping to keep the memories hidden. He closed his eyes and concentrated, and instead of locking the door again, he pushed the door open in his mind as far as it would go, the door knob banging against the plaster with a satisfying thud.
He opened his eyes and he gathered up his clothes, his socks and shoes and cell phone and he said to himself, loud enough for his father to hear. Come on Dad, we gotta get ready to go to work, you’re making me late again.
He could feel the smile glowing behind him as he started down the stairs.