Monday, June 11, 2012

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"Quiet have always been my wildflower
showing up where ever beauty's lost its way..
your heart must break"
Sheryl Crow, Wildflower

It's a rainy Monday night.
The post I had planned (had started to write, yesterday in fact) filled you, Reader, in, with the goings-on in this little life over the past week. Nothing special I tell you.

Today, measured in day-to-day, year-to-year, weekday-to-weekday, was really the 'true' anniversary of my father's death.
The green dress I wore.
The slow drive to work.
The leisurely drive to my parents home in Ajax, taking far less time than it usually did, the absence of traffic, the drifting rain--all a reminder that we are, ultimately, alone in our journey on this revolving-door planet.

I can't really comment about the timing of having to attend a cancer benefit with a coworker tonight.
It just seemed....surreal.
More rain.
More pain.

The Canadian Tenors performed, supremely talented, all of them. My Dad would have loved to have seen this performance. They sang a song called "The Prayer". I sat and listened, poured into a black dress, wearing my silver-wedding shoes. My home-done-mani-pedi. The room, reeking of money, of privilege.
My separate-ness from it all.
During the singing of The Prayer I dug the fingernails of my right hand hard into the soft flesh of my palm on the left. When that stopped working I switched hands.
For the next song, we were told to stand. I wasn't sure why, until the opening bars of O Canada started up.
I stared at the coffered ceiling of the grand hall we were seated in, willing the tears to not fall, not now, not in all this make-up, amidst all the lavish-ness of the evening. I held it together. Even through the grace, said by a Catholic priest, beautifully said, the way my Dad liked, always saying grace before any meal (give us this day, our daily bread..).
When I glanced at the ceiling, all the stress of the last few days, weeks, melted away. I was, in my black evening dress, nail polish, hair products, and make-up-- without disguise in that room.
I held my tears back, but keenly felt my father's arching presence, taking in the music, the scene, the dinner, the auction, the money. I thought about what his impression would have been of the some-1500-strong group of people I was surrounded by--dripping with jewellery, with posh-ness, with luck;  and I know that, outwardly, anyway, he would have felt no niggling regret to not be a part of their sect.
I know I didn't (don't).
I stare in the mirror, my drooping eye staring silently back, my half-face, and I can summon up maybe a fraction of the terror my father must have fathomed those first weeks, months.  Then--those last few weeks, months.
A prayer indeed.

I watch. I read. I listen.
Everywhere, for the signs.
Tonight, I have none, just the great-ceilinged room, my hands clasped in my lap before dinner, the soft rain.
No armour.

"Closer still, you will find me standing on the hill
waiting for you with my arms, stretched open wide..."

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