I have one memory of my father that I remember like I’m some kind of video camera. Push the ball of my nose and it will start to play:

       He’s sitting in his chair in the living room, eating potatoes and rice on a plate that has a few grains painted in a yellow and orange design on it and he calls out Sonya, come here for a second, and I drop my spoon into my smeared bowl of macaroni and cheese leftover and run over, my feet scampering about the beige carpet. He pats his left thigh three times and I pause to calculate the physics it will take to make the jump up. I misread it and he grabs me up in his hairy arms and sets me down gently on his knee. I wait for his lips to unlock, for that indication of speech, but it never comes. We only look around the room.

       The television that raised a small part of me, the walls littered with grade school art and home-drawn crayon paintings of animals on faded newspaper columns. A few cut-outs of witches riding brooms and skeletons dancing, lingering in dust, forgotten since October. Some photos of relatives, dead and alive, the side projects of our lives that will never mean too much, or as much as we want them to mean.

       All these things sit frozen like they are on display, confused, like we put them there for their collection and preservation, like they’re somehow worth something.

       And I turn and look for his eyes. They are closed tight. Closed so tight it feels like they won’t open ever again. And I place my tiny hands on his chest and push twice. He opens one eye slightly while the corners of his lips move up the side of his face but never open. I still can’t say anything because it feels like some weird kind of dad-daughter moment or something cheesy like that and I don’t know what to do. When you don’t know what to do, you’re not supposed to do anything, right?

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