Brown Eyed Girl

It seems like my dad is always trying to tell me something. He died 3 years ago from cirrhosis of the liver. Liver failure. Something in my spirit always knew he wasn't going to live a long life, but it still came as a shock. I never had visits from him after he died. My mom would see him in a dream, wearing those plaid half-length shorts he would always wear with his gut tucked into his shirt. She didn't tell me this, but I imagine he was also wearing that clamp on his belt buckle where he would put his phone. I never saw him, thought about him, dwelled on him. For two years I felt cold-hearted. My parents were already divorced. He had been in and out of hospitals for a while. How was I supposed to know he would drift away in there, without even uttering a word. I knew he was an alcoholic, but I didn't realize how quickly he was deteriorating. When I finally decided to visit him, I had made him a collage. It was my friend Morgan's idea. I had dug up some old pictures from the back of my closet, from childhood when things were different. I painted a set of eyes and wrote the lyrics "Do you remember when... we used to sing?" from the Van Morrison song "Brown Eyed Girls," because we did used to sing it. My dad was a jolly man most of the time who embarrassed me in public with his obnoxiously loud personality. He would sing just about everything, but his favorite was about us, me and Rachel. Rachel's my half-sister and although he is not related to her at all, my dad loved to sing about our brown eyes when he was alive.

Richmond, VA, USA.

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