His throat moved. It wasn’t that it changed, it just quivered a bit, and I took
another sip of chicken soup at the kitchen table after I had seen it.
It was the oddest reflection not in a mirror, that as a child seemed so simplistic. It was like looking at a quick rewind of a black and white film, and totally forgetting it, but the sense that it was recognized never leaves you.
As a reflex I gulped, and then I stared at my father as he fixed me lunch
before I had to go back to school.
Noone notices that stuff about people that they don’t love. It is too unclear and insignificant. At ten years old I might have – would have totally missed it. Never would have happened. At 18 it is too late to have the slightest shot of a glimpse beyond the mirror.
But at 11 the magic number, I was deep in the ravine where children still have twines by which they climb to the edge of the rim to see the world.
So I hovered with my eyes, expectantly, waiting for words, that would follow the suggested passage to come. But it was just a quiver. A falter or perhaps retreat from something remembered, or something painful, or something both.
Perhaps it was me, or what I wasn’t, that was washed down in that moment of revisitation, but whatever it was, it had had a pulse of wistfulness.
I saw it in my Father’s eyes, that second swallow of an empty throat- unslaked with water to satisfy an unspoken emptiness.
It was sorrow, without a breeze or wind to carry it to me.
A scent only an animal picks up- and lingers to, as a reminder of the breath of humanity that your best dog so desperately haunts you for.
Yeah. He never showed it again. Perhaps I had lost the vision to revisit that imagined ghost.
We finished our lunch together but I never forgot that moment.
I think it was a cinema replay of his childhood memories co
mingled with the boy he saw in front of him, and the sadness of the fact that he wasn’t truly my father.
That residue affected him and knowing that I didn’t know, that most likely caused him to pause his swallow…. hence the bittersweet clouds in his eyes.
Four years later I dissembled my roots and climbed out of the Ravine.