I awake to rain, a cold breeze and the faint taste of soap on my tongue.
In my dreams my father came back, dressed in the clothes we’d buried him in. In his right hand he is carrying a stammering candle of the Resurrection services. His left hand holds a half-eaten mango; it is a gaping wound of bruised skin and burned orange flesh.
His navy wool suit seems hardly worn. It is then that I notice his feet. Sockless and shoeless, his ankles and bare feet are a dull frightening gray. I begin to cry, realizing he walked the whole way. I think of him climbing up from his grave and then, obeying some paternal instinct, walking the miles west along the highway toward his only child. It must have been some time ago, since he had completely wreaked his shoes. Where along the way did the brown leather crack, the seams pucker and the stitching come undone?
When did he begin his journey?
I am ashamed, disturbed by the thought that while he looked for me, I was unaware of his arrival, since no one ever told him where to find me. It hurt to think of him walking day and night; talking to no one; walking, walking, walking until he finally found me.
My tears have woken him up. He has heard me calling him.
He walks over telling me I must go with him. When he asks if I want to go with him, I lie.
Then he is gone, leaving as he had come with the night breeze.
According to my mother, the deceased are never far from us. There is a fine line between our reality and theirs. My father knows I have been mourning and has come to comfort me.
When I think about him now, my pain is the color of his bruised blue hydrangeas.
My memories of him, crushed chalk on my tongue.