How does one fully grieve for a father? One who left some time ago.
One whose memory is stirred up again as I sit alone on my front porch, remembering our last conversation when we sat side by side on his.
Words were mostly awkward between us, and always difficult to come by. But the small talk that passed for conversation on that particular day served a purpose. Deflecting big talk about big things.
Things like decaying bodies, failing minds, death.
Our meager words that day were occasionally punctuated by the clomp-clomp-clomping of the horses and buggies trotting down this rural street. We would stop and watch. Exactly the picturesque scene that he had fantasied about long before he settled there.
Another conversational deflection, no doubt.
But a deflection that had also provided some meaning after a lifetime of endless traffic, long daily commutes, grimy city streets, and constant noise.
Perhaps a taste of what was just ahead.
It occurred to me that today’s misspent grief was only partially about some distant memory. I find myself engaging more and more in small talk with those who will one day look back on my own words, porch or no porch.
Small talk that attempts to pass for conversation, that tries to deflect – not always successfully.
But small talk that still serves a purpose.
At least for now.
© TZampino 2020
Image Credit: Pixabay