A Part of Me I Left Behind
“He’s gone you know,” she says in the back of my mind. I sit in my bedroom, gripping onto the bed, in my on-campus apartment not really sure if I’m having a psychotic breakdown or not. “Gone and never coming back.”
And then a memory of him floods my mind. Him smiling down at me and calling me “my little pooh bear.” I try to shake back the tears. I try not to break down. Not to end up in a state where I’m curling up in a ball hyperventilating with the thought of me losing my mind. So again I run. I go to places that are filled with people—the conference room in Lake Ontario where my Advanced Fiction class meets; the C-store on the GV’s campus in Allendale; Buffalo Wild Wings with a friend; a student reading series. But it doesn’t even matter because I’m still alone in my thoughts, no matter how crowded the place maybe.
The way my nine-year-old self looks at me makes me feel ashamed, with pigtails, eyes red from tears, and her skinny child-like figure, she’s still grieving for our father—the way I left her, the way I’ve repressed her. I’ve lied to myself. Pretended I was fine and moved on while leaving her behind. But I never really left her, still there grieving over my father in some small ways.
“Do you understand what I’m saying,” she says when I ignore her. “Daddy is gone and he isn’t coming back.” Another memory of him penetrates my mind without my permission—the sweet, sweet smell of his Christian Dior’s Fahrenheit cologne and how it lingers when he leaves the room. I clutch at my chest.
“Stop,” I, my twenty-two-year-old self pleas, “please stop.”
“You have to stop running Jana`.” Another memory: his bright, perfect smile. I shake my head back and forth trying to shake out the memories of him.
“I can’t, I can’t do this,” I say. And I can’t. It’s been thirteen years and I still can’t think about the night I received the news about his death. It’s been thirteen years since I’ve seen him get walked away in handcuffs, unaware that that would’ve been the last time I saw him alive—all because he was late for a court date. It’s been thirteen years and I am still in denial, secretly hoping that one day he will show up to tell me that it’s all been a cruel, cruel joke.