I remembered this video after I saw my father in his coffin. A friend had sent the video to me years before, for no particular reason, just because it was a morbidly fascinating image, and we laughed at it at the time. This friend’s mother had cancer, but she survived, and his father is alive and healthy, his grandmother, too, all living. He can still laugh at that image. He is not in the club.
Two days after my father died, my best friend’s father died. He texted me to apologize for not picking up when I tried to call him, because his father had just died. I had entered a new phase of life. I thought to myself, ‘Now everyone’s dads will start dying’, the same way you might say after the first of your friends get married, ‘Now everyone is going to get married’. And they did. All year dads died.
I saw people with dead fathers everywhere. One day I was running through Pike Place market with a coworker looking for a gift for my boss’s birthday. In a fudge shop a man was sitting at a table crying silently, while a woman beside him patted his back. They were tourists on vacation who had stopped into a candy store to browse sweets. The man had received some bad news and the woman, likely his partner, was not affected by the news; you could tell from her face and her sympathetic patting. This large man with a cut-off tank top and a mustache like Hulk Hogan’s in a busy fudge shop for tourists, sitting and weeping silently on a little round café table: I looked past him. When we were out of the shop, my coworker said to me, “I don’t think that man was feeling very well”, and I shrugged.
Another day I was riding the bus home from work, when a man announced his father’s death. When he boarded the bus, he loudly tried to shake hands with the man seated behind me, who brushed him off. So he changed seats and struck up a conversation with some young women. He said, “I have a good job, a good girl, but no ambition.” The group discussed the nature of ambition. Then he said, “My dad died two weeks ago”. “I’m sorry,” the women said. The loud man said, “It’s fine, we weren’t close.” Then he and the girls started making fun of my jacket, a purple windbreaker.
Whenever I scrolled through Facebook and saw another person with a dead dad, I said nothing to them. I scrolled past, looking for parties and funny videos, but what
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