Because of him I love the smell of petroleum. When he'd come home from work (he ran the printing press at our local newspaper) the smell of gasoline & ink clung to him like powdered sugar on cake and I drank it in like lemonade.
He was my favorite. He didn't yell (at me). He never drank. He made my school lunches & I look just like him.
When my parents told me they were getting a divorce, it was his soft, mushy white t-shirt clad belly I buried my face into and cried.
I knew he was far from perfect. I knew my mother, her mother and all of her sisters hated him. I knew he was embarrassing, running like a MADMAN onto the football field when a Pop Warner kid went down. Gut churning, sweat flying, tackle box full of EMT tools bouncing and bouncing and bouncing. I knew the neighborhood kids (and adults) thought he was a buffoon when he'd come bursting out of the house, SCREAMING & YELLING and demanding justice for his kid during a game of kick-ball.
I loved him most anyway. Like I said, he didn't yell at me. He never hit me and he promised me the world. Over and over and over and over and over and over again. He PROMISED. He promised.
I was 11 when my parents divorced he disappeared and over the years his lack of remarkableness settled in like soot.
He came to my high-school graduation and when I was about 20, he took my brother and I out to a movie and to the diner for dinner.
He has never met my husband or any of my children. The last few times we talked, he asked for money. Like, lots of money. Could we buy his house for him and let him live in it? Could we pay for him to re-locate to another state?
And the very last time I heard from him, I got copied in on one of those fucking mind numbing, infuriating chain mails that INSIST that Jesus WON'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE unless you forward the fucking thing to 20 people. Dick doesn't even know that I'm an Atheist.
Now I know he also has Fragile X. The gift that keeps on giving and he didn't have to spend a dime! Sweet, isn't it?