I cannot take him to brunch or dinner today. I cannot cook for him and I cannot buy him a gift to show my love and appreciation.
I’ve been thinking about him this morning and lo and behold, my sister posted a picture of our family on FB, as she does randomly all the time.
And here he was, standing somewhat uncomfortably at the wedding of his grandson so many years ago. Was he uncomfortable because he was wearing a suit? Or because he did not belong with the glitz and glamour? I don’t know, but I know that he looks out-of-place, and I wish I could have been there to tell him that we can have a good time, even though he’s not sure whether he belongs.
I’m a very young child and I’m asking him to “make a muscle”. He’s showing me the muscles in his arm and I’m delighted to know that my father is the strongest man in the world.
I’m a child or a teen and he comes home from work bringing me a chocolate bar or halva. A small piece, as he didn’t have a lot of money. And me, jumping with joy for the unexpected treat. His smile when he sees my excitement.
Realizing that I’m becoming an avid reader and buying me books from time to time, even though they were so expensive then. And then, after discovering Ayn Rand, bringing home Atlas Shrugged, hot off the press, translated to Hebrew and me looking with awe at the two thick volumes and dreaming of the magical time I would have while reading.
Refusing to tell me what he did when he was in the Irgun, and leaving me wondering for the rest of my life how was it for him to be in prison. Was he tortured? Did he kill anyone? A father I knew so well and not at all.
Visiting here in the states when I gave birth, even though he was surely afraid of travel. Not speaking English and hard of hearing. I’m in bed most of the time, impatient, hormonal after a c section. My father, who was apparently hungry, and could not read English, reached for a can of cat food and ate it! He laughed when I discovered it and said that it was not so bad!
Fights he had with my mother, where she was mean, insulting and illogical and blamed him for everything that was annoying to her, including the sun rising too early in the morning.
The phone call, after coming home from a movie. When you live far away, you always dread a phone call late at night. Sony’s unexpected voice saying that my dad had a heart attack. And then wondering if he would have lived longer if I lived next door? Getting on the plane the next morning and coming to my parents home, without the parents.
There is so much I don’t know about him. Being self involved and immature, I didn’t bother to ask him so many questions. I don’t know why he wanted to marry my mother, and whether he loved anyone before her. I never asked whether he wanted a boy instead of a girl, although from the way I was raised by him I bet he did. I learned how to box before I learned ballet, and I was better at the first one…
And truly, there are about one hundred questions without answers.
My dad, ABBA, who I loved so so much and miss so deeply. I wish I could believe in a heaven, or a place where I go to after my death, and see him sitting there, smoking his cigarettes, reading the paper and singing patriotic songs.
I’m here to sing with you.