father

Shortly after this photo was taken, my dad would leave home and become a drifter.  He bounced around and worked in various rock quarries before he decided to lie about his age and enlist in the military. 

The military would become his home for the next 25+ years. 

“The past is never dead”

My mother never talked about her past and I knew almost nothing about her.  

She was this person who seemed to let life’s accidents shape her – and I was just one of the many mistakes that occurred during her lifetime. 

Then she developed Alzheimer’s and was doomed to live in the past all the time.

By then, she only spoke in this strange dialect of her own – skipping every two or three words, misusing the ones she did say out loud in her thick accent.  I would close my eyes to catch every word and make sense of it – but too many pieces were missing and I never puzzled it out. 

Trapped as she was in her own past, she still didn’t share it, and nearly all of it died with her. 

Note to world #8885

She was trying to combat stress by meditating every day. 

Granted, she did it with her eyes open.  During her morning commute. While stuck in traffic snarls. 

But it was her only available free time. 

Note to world # 3886

Her escape fantasies intensified:

New job?  Why not a new profession. Or she strikes it just right somewhere with a combo hardware store / bakery that also sells industrial art in the corners. Specifically: Dirt would form in permanent half moons under her nails and her cakes would be slices of pure comfort on a plate. 

New house, maybe. Better: new town, in a different state – or maybe a different continent. One with no people….where the news was really just about the ever-changing weather which she also tried to capture in photographs. 

To keep herself in her seat, she would tell herself that “new” could also just mean different feelings of failure and inadequacy.  

And when that started sounding just fine, she would know she was truly in trouble.