how i am really doing

dear dad,

the other night i cried about losing a bookmark. i always cry when i lose things now, as if you had died all over again. thanks for that.

otherwise i’m good. i’m really good. i like my job. i love my job. i live in the mountains. most days i wake up and i feel so lucky that it hurts.

i’m in new zealand. is that a place that ever crossed your mind? did you ever want to travel? did you ever have dreams like mine? i wish i could say i can imagine you as a young boy sitting on the carpet of your parents’ brooklyn apartment, drawing a picture of a camel in some faraway land, but. i have no concept of who you were, as a boy, as a father.

i don’t miss you. i don’t, because you’re here.

not: i still feel you in my heart, you’re always with me.

rather: i can’t get rid of you. you follow me everywhere i go. you, in the shape of death. it probably scares people away, how dark i’ve become. thanks for that.

sometimes, i’m the life of the party, if you’d believe it. sometimes, people fall in love with me. me and my death shadow. it’s a two-for-one package.

it has been nearly six years. six years since your body shut down. six years since i learned from a neighbor that they shot you. six years since i received that phone call while standing in between two sets of sliding glass doors at baggage claim. six years since i had to tell my mother and brother that you’re dead. it seems like it was just last night, and yet i have aged forty years.

what was your first thought when you woke up that morning, that humid July morning? i wish you didn’t do what you did, but i know that you needed it. maybe we all needed it.

i can’t cry right now because i’m at work, so i’ll be brief: i forgive you. i forgive you i forgive you i forgive you. i’m not angry with you anymore. you just got lost.

how am i really doing? something you’d never think to ask. something no one ever asks.

well, i’m lost too. sometimes i feel too much. sometimes i feel so empty i could completely disappear. sometimes i am so elated and on top of the world that i want to hug strangers. sometimes i am so, so, so sad. but i’ll be okay. what you could not give me in life, you have given me in death.

i happen to love my death shadow, in case you were wondering. thanks for that.

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