We got to open all the curled notes from our wedding this morning. My Faj’s note was the one that most crippled my heart over coffee.
Not only because of the words he wrote, and his discussion of faith beyond the years that he goes from an “is” to a “was,” but because his handwriting is forever on this yellow folded paper. For the record, when I tell stories about my Dad, he will always be an “is.” It immediately brings forth the memory in seventh grade where I bought a book and studied handwriting for the science fair. My dad ready to be the first to sign my vocabulary flashcards for my study.
Since I was little, my dad has kept a ledger of his finances and notes on a yellow legal pad. He has hundreds in a closet, or so I believe. It’s like Nikki Finney’s pencils.
When I think of my father, these yellow legal pads; everything he has taught me about financing and writing words, keeping track — recording — taking life to a page, to even a single line when you’re lost, this is the symbol. While this crisp yellow, the kind painted parallel on the roads where you cannot pass, is different from that post-it pad yellow of my childhood experiences at his desk, it conjures the same experience.
It’s just me and him. I’m in a tweed suit coat that still fits his broad shoulders, an old hat over my blonde hair. Leftover cigarettes in a black marble cup, each stick could still fit between his fingers, between his lips, but he is too busy letting me point at things, telling me the answers to questions I wasn’t yet sure how to ask.