When things are lost
I jumped out of the car and ran to him. I inhaled when I reached his arms, he smelled like just washed clothes.
He looked vividly alive.
He said, “What’s up?” and I handed him the lottery tickets. He smiled and said, “Thank you, Juju,” that was his nickname for me. Then he hugged me again and walked me back to the car.
“You’re welcome Dad, I love you.” He held me tighter and kissed my cheek, and then I got in and we drove away.
I never saw him again.
The last time I spoke to my dad was January, 2012. He asked me to be good and stay out of trouble. He asked me if I was right with God. He died a few days later. I wish I had asked him the same thing.
My dad was a truck driver, and he wasn’t around very much. I saw him for the last time at my grandmother’s house in Memphis, just after she passed away. My mom and my dad and my uncle were there. People were getting rowdy, celebrating her, they said.
When my mom and I were ready to leave, my dad got upset because he didn’t want us to go, but we had to drive all the way back to Amarillo, so we left anyway.
On our way out of town, we realized that Dad had left some lottery tickets in the car. We drove back just as he was walking out of the house. He smiled when he saw us.
Just weeks after my grandmother’s funeral, my dad had a massive heart attack. He had pulled over for the night and was asleep in the bunk in his truck. The doctor said he just never woke up.
My dad wasn’t perfect. I didn’t like that his job took him away all the time. I didn’t like it when I found out that he had cheated on my mom. But I forgave him for that.
I forgave him for all of the things he did or didn’t do, because he was my dad.