2002, Labour day. I’m glad for the day off; I have a job but I don’t particularly like it. It’s sunny and warm; I have plans to go check out a photo exhibition in town later in the afternoon with my best friend.
I’m typing something on the family computer in the basement. I’m doing laundry in my mom’s machine, even though there’s one in the house I live in. It’s just being held hostage by our tenants who live in the basement. So I have to drive to my mom’s house to wash my and my then boyfriend’s clothes.
There’s a knock at the door. Nothing unusual on a day off; maybe a salesman or something. The dark clothes, glimpsed through the stairwell, and the grave voice don’t really strike me, neither is my mother’s muffled tone when she thanks the stranger and closes the door.
And then she calls me and brother upstairs; the rest is history.
2012 marks my father’s suicide’s 10th anniversary.
I never knew my father as a person rather than just my father. He didn’t give me and my brother the chance to.
I’d never thought about how this action made him into an independent invidiual. It was the ultimate independent action, I suppose. He forcefully separated himself from us, asserting himself as a person while erasing himself from the world. The perfect palimpsest.
My father was a generous person. He loved nature and fishing and wooden sculptures of ducks. He liked to drink sake. He loved us. He added vanilla to his spaghetti sauce. But he has never been anything else than my father, and that is how I will remember him for the rest of my life. I suppose it’s a good way to leave the world; he was a good father.
Because he left us at the dawn of our adulthood, I don’t think either me or my brother have known our father as a man. There was no time. When he left, we still needed a father and could not see him any other way.
We were adults now; he was man and gone.