What I should have said
By Corwin Bradshaw, 2rd March 2018. Each chapter is exactly 100 words.
It was always a big privilege to use Dad's computer.
It wasn't beige, and it didn't make a grinding noise when you turned it on. In fact, it could be left running almost perpetually, and had a window to show off what was inside.
It was illuminated by blue LEDs.
My brother and I would race to wake up the earliest on weekends- race to log into the City of Heroes MMO on a machine that didn't weep when we subjected it to such things.
We raced to be met by that tantalising blue glow in the twilight before dawn.
Dad bought another PC, and I inherited that machine. I used it for years, used it to play City of Heroes, used it to play other games, used it to make friends online and play Minecraft and TF2 with friends from school.
I took it to America with me, used it there to play games with Dad from time to time. Even back then, I wished we did so more often. Now, I don't know if it would be more or less tragic for that wish to have been reality.
Where is that PC now? Collecting dust in an attic.
When Dad died on March 9th 2017, part of me shut down. It has yet to come back online.
It's as if reality is on hold.
The events of the past year are purely hypothetical to me.
An interesting "what if" scenario from which I cannot escape.
At the funeral, I didn't speak beyond a welcome and thanks to those present. I left the rest to my brother. He did well.
When the chance came, at the end, for me to say something- anything- in the few moments before we filed out, I did nothing.
I said nothing.
My memory is littered with debris from the wreckage of our time as father and son. Like a ship dashed across the shoreline, only some of it shows the craft's original form. Most of it is just broken wood.
The parts we recognise are what's important, though. They tell you what the doomed vessel was, and what it meant, why it mattered.
Those moments- those memories- are frozen in time, preserved forever, but scattered, broken, fundamentally incomplete.
I can look down, now, into the depths between the rocky shoals, and see them there.
The water is dark, and very deep.
This is what I should have said:
Dad was sentimental in a way that's hard to put into words. It occurs to me, though, that I might be better qualified than anyone else to try.
He wanted the world- his life- to be a story. One that he would be proud to tell. One that had enough moments that shimmered strongly enough to draw attention away from the bad.
He- I- could be brought to tears by a lyric in a song.
My earliest memory is of Dad carrying me outside late one evening to say goodnight to the trees.