The date hit like a fist to the heart. I’d forgotten his anniversary. And it took me two weeks to even remember that I’d missed it.
Thirteen years since my Dad died. And I didn’t ring my Mum. Or speak to my brothers. Or even register the date until two weeks after it had passed.
What kind of daughter does that?
Then I imagine him, looking up from his newspaper (the Catholic Leader or Queensland Graingrower, for sure), eyes huge through the lens of his reading glasses.
The half snort, half laugh. That’d be right. Then the sly look. You still miss me?
My advice? You became a nun? Good. I told you: it’s never too late; Mary Magdalene became a saint-
Uh, no, but-
You got married? Before you lost your looks completely?
Well, yes – but you already knew that. You were there, remember?
I wonder then if he remembers the other piece of advice. The one I can’t forget because it was delivered from a hospital bed just before he died:
…be what you were meant to be, do what you were meant to do …
Thanks Dad, I took your advice – and became a writer instead.
Someone with only one foot on the ground, and a head in the clouds.
Someone who feels her father’s presence more deeply since he died. But forgets to ring her Mum on the anniversary of his death.
Someone who goes back through her diary to see what kind of daughter does that, and finds this entry: ‘How to Destroy Earth (Part One) 13,419 words – it’s getting there!’
Someone who takes time out today, when the word count stands at 20,064, to spend an hour just thinking of her dad.
And so we beat on, words against the page, a middle-aged woman, unsuited to the cloistered life, still trying to make her dad proud.