I never thought about my dad (much)
at holidays like Easter or Christmas or Thanksgiving
when my grandparent’s house overflowed
with aunts and uncles and cousins
and loud family noises ricocheted
throughout the house like a parade of auditory hugs.
But birthdays
usually a quieter time
always made me wish for him
wondering if I blew out all the candles
if there might be a present, a card
some acknowledgment
of his connection to my birth.

He saw me only once
still a baby in a crib
and then no more
but an uncle from his side of the family
came to ask about me
my mother said she showed him
my school picture
my hair pulled back with plastic barrettes
my white shirt with the Peter Pan collar
and I like to imagine him studying it
memorizing my face so he could describe it
to my dad.

Last year
I found my father’s death notice
and I saw that uncle’s name.
I wondered if he remembered asking
about me
and did he carry back stories to my dad
about me
or did he just tuck them into some secret place of his own
knowing that my father
didn’t want to know?

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2010
All Rights Reserved