Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I remember

Don't ask me, seriously, I don't have alot to say about him except he was my DAD.

A father.

There I was, reminiscing, or, at least, trying to grasp back the scattered pieces of heart-warming memories of him. Anything that I could remember that can make me proudly and whole-heartedly shout to the silent dark sky on that barren road up to the TV transmitter in my hometown, 'He was my dad!'

There I was, sitting cross-legged, one and a half meter from the right corner of our simple living room, I couldnt care less about the poorly lit room, nor about the whole sad or sympathetic faces who had been expecting my arrival from Medan city since last Sunday. I didn't care how empty and numb my heart was, my hand now let go of mom's, placed it on the wooden floor as if it was the solid earth that keeps me from shaking inside: 'He is not dead,' I  defied convinced myself, thinking all of this was not happening. I was not myself that nite.

Scanning the room, hardly recognized some of the faces, I threw my head back to my father's head, these people laid him in the coffin, hands clasped together on his stomach, neatly dressed in his most proper dark colored suit. He had shared his great sense of humor with everyone, those mournful visitor recalled this in their considerably unbearably long speech. Hearty laughter, a string of hymns, and another long miles of similar speech. Handshaking those cold or sweaty hands, looking up to their faces with a smile attached in my face, I had only been trying to draw myself closer to my dad, finding a refuge in apparently not so much memories of us being together.

Yeah, I remember it was early evening, the sky still showed a faint light on the far end of the sea, Love that scenery, I ran after my parents, sisters on my both hand, looked pissed off at me for reasons I couldn't remember. We were about to have mie soup, a special treat we get once in a lifetime, just like the family outing itself.

Then, I remember I was singled out in the living room, I was much older. Dad with his mightiest calmness asked me the same question for the third or fourth time, 'Did you steal the money?' Mom and both of my older sisters sat in silence, looked at me with no much suspicion in their eyes. It seemed like forever and I felt like the worst kid on earth, 'I don't even know why I keep the money,' I told myself. They all were looking at me, Got me right there, a total guilty expression was written all over my face.
I didn't answer my dad. I couldnt. I was powerless that letting out a single word called, 'Sorry' felt so damn hard.
'Shit, it take so long!!' I condemned my inability to confess or even to look up at my dad's face, those thin hairless legs of mine became so boring. They had all night to wait. Thank God it was not the night for Friday the 13th TV series (Everything LOOKS scarier  in our 14" Black and White TV.)
I raised to my feet and walked into my parents' bedroom just behind the wall of the living room where they rested their back on, next to each other. Facing the big tall closet, I took the light wooden chair and stood half jumped to the top of the closet, dusted of the surface, until my fingers felt the folded money, returned to the living room where cockroach invaded the nite, back to my sitting position, only this time, I sat much closer to dad, facing him with my ever growing heavier head.
'I had no intention in spending it for any purposed,' that was my only excuse respond while handed him the money from my right hand (In Batak, giving and receiving should be by the right hand, for the sake of politeness.)
'I am sorry,' I added, now couldn't help but looking up to his face, seek for a sign of forgiveness. He simply accept the money, rose to his feet and went to his bedroom, probably put the money back to his pocket, came out and announced, 'Problem settled. It's dinner time,' and no body said anything, I we just through one precious lesson. Yes, Dad had never beaten me, he never given  me with any physical punishment. He made each of his kids learned their mistakes by emphasizing the meaning of confess and regret.

I remember Dad did not like being photographed.
He said he was not photo-friendly, did not like what he saw on the square-shaped thick paper, 'I looked better that that,' he would joke, yet, we found a lot of his ID-sized black and white photos been kept in various places, mostly for the church-work related purposes.

I remember he loved pork so much. He would eat more than three times a day and if he caught our stare, he would gave us his famous line: I-just-wanna-try-it.

He sang when he felt things were just too much to handle. He would sing louder when he was just fed up. But he never screamed, ever. His most-exposed emotional trait was joking and talking, laughing.

I remember the day he paid me a surprise visit to my rent room near the university on that Friday. He said, 'Be good,' and handshaked me, took a night bus to hometown in the late afternoon.

Then he died on Sunday.
A simple phone call on that sunny delightful day gave me a fresh slice of wound in my heart, I broke down in shameless childish cry and fell to my weakened knees, 'I should've known it!' I was angry at myself, not at him, not at the fact I had never had hugged him, never embraced him like a Father-and-Son perfect picture.

I had lost the chance of loving him more.

I remember he was proud of me. Mom said he would spend some time with the priest in our small church telling stories about me, how great was his expectation for me to make it big and, most importantly, to make it right in my life. The same priest came to me, and after a quick hug, told me how much he liked listening to my dad's stories, about me.

I remember the day he found out about my sexual orientation through the respond letter from a Christian Ministry. He might have decided it was for good not to bring it up or to fuss about it, though I had seen the sad or worry lines were written on my parents' tired forehead.

I remember mom's and grandma's stories that he had changed his drink and gamble way of life after the day I was born, his only son.

I remember he loved me so much that he would send off my mom and both of my sisters to  take me to the bus stop when the holiday season was over, returned to my university.
Yes, I remember and will always remind myself how much my father loved me, so much.