Dad’s Birthday (a short post to keep myself going)

Happy birthday, Dad! If you were alive, you’d be 80 today, and I would call you and 019_16you would make silly remarks about what an old man you are and how just waking up was celebration enough.

If you were alive, you’d read my rough drafts and offer truly useful critique. You’d encourage me and treat me like a real writer.

If you were alive you’d see my children and how grown they are, and how funny, and you’d be baffled by their problems and offer me help.

If you were alive you might be writing another novel that I would show off to everyone. Or we’d just have a few drinks and write nothing at all.

If you were alive the same old tensions would babble like a brook beneath our gestures and silences. Your Englishness, my Americanitude, your maleness, my femaleness, my love for you and yours for me. Your wife’s inability to hide her dislike of me. My efforts to hide my dislike of her, in my still-child mind a feeble replacement of my mother.

If you were alive, you’d still be mine.

If you were alive, we’d figure this out.

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