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abu

Ever since he’s died, I fear he has been mad at me. He died so angry. I never dream of him. He comes to my mother, my sister. My brother saw him shortly after the funeral, clutching a passport and smelling of his favorite cologne. He woke up crying in the middle of the night in Singapore as I lay awake in our home in New Jersey, waiting, waiting, waiting to see a glimpse of Abu, in a dream, in the corner of my eye, somewhere/anywhere. I was so convinced that if I could just see him, just once, then I would know that he was ok and that he wasn’t angry.

I don’t know how to write anymore without writing about my father. And writing about Abu is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. He is gone. It’s been nearly a year and a half. A year of writing my sorrow onto a page that will never do justice to the pain, a year of tearing up as soon as I open a blank word document, cursor blinking and Abu at my fingertips, pressing into the keyboard. My words feel so trivial. They fail to take that gripping//unyielding//clenching pain that tightens around my heart//blocks my throat//cripples my breathe//blurs my vision// and translate it into some sort of meaningful narrative. We have spent so much time protecting each other from our grief – my sister, my mother and I. We don’t cry together, ever. And I’m afraid I don’t know how to talk about Abu anymore without feeling pain.

Time holds a different meaning when measured against loss. It moves slowly – molasses in the cold winter air, sickly sweet and inching forward steadily, silently, inconsequentially. Happy//sad events alike feel just a little bit empty, and I fear I will never again feel an emotion, any emotion, without this lingering echo. Chunks of my time have been spent missing you, Abu, and these half-complete moments have defined me more than an entire lifetime of being your daughter.

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