It may be a kind of confusing story, but I spend time with my deceased father at a local Denny’s restaurant.
To start, I don’t have a delusional, schizophrenic malady. He’s not sitting in the booth with me or whispering his voice to me. Not crazy stuff. But, I do have a lot of memories about him while here. Funny thing is, we never spent any time together at the restaurant, and we never really had anything to build fond memories upon. Yet, I spend my time with him at the local eatery.
My dad was an ass. You could ask anyone. Bitter. Hard. Extremely inquisitive, most times to the point of bothersome. Not bearing much compassion or humility. Negative. He always had a way of making you feel bad about yourself, and he always sat a bit higher than most. At least, he thought so. He was a police officer, but was severely injured in a high-speed pursuit. His career ended, but his cop mentality didn’t. Overall, he was hard to deal with.
I sometimes wonder how he arrived at his bitterness. Was it the devastating blow in his career? Was it my involvement, due to the fact of him not wanting more kids? Was it a secret? Was it Vietnam? Was it all? Was it any of these? I can’t ask, and truly, I never could.
My dad and I always seemed to be worlds apart, even when we were together. We bunted horns. I had grudges and many ways to blame him in my young adult years, well into manhood. ‘Dad?’, I would ask myself. ‘When was he ever a father!?’ That was the mindset for decades, but the willingness to forgive was beginning to ease in as the years passed. Unfortunately, I had found it best to stay away from him due to his choices. Due to my sanity. Due to the well-being of my family and myself. I never had the chance to say goodbye or develop pleasurable memories with him before he passed away.
I sit at Denny’s with him: in my thoughts. In my heart. In some kind of mysterious, questionable way. I sometimes wonder how it would have been like: spending more time with him, knowing him in more pleasant ways, seeing more of his expressions and the emotions attached. Just knowing him. I sit at the restaurant and dine with him. We discuss the things that never were. I put into words the substances of my experiences, and he only listens. We finish the meal, say our goodbyes, and I schedule the next time.