An Appetite for Longing

Messaging a friend to borrow a crate —so we can have a second for the puppy that is house-trained on the first floor but not the second — I noticed that FaceBook asked as always apparently: “What’s on your mind?”

Without hesitation I wanted to post: I miss my mom and my dad.

Cora graduates from High School in a couple of days, Jack has a summer job which he calls a real one because he “has meetings” before transferring this fall to Cal. Charles and I really are looking forward to a house occupied with only us and the puppy. They will be alright, they are getting on with it.

But this missing felt like having an appetite after hiking nine miles without eating and then smelling a cookout. The phrase I miss my mom and dad underlined wanting something I can’t have. That’s longing, right? You can’t locate it but you can feel it. Not think it. Desire it.

Mom passed away in 2001 and Dad in 2007 shortly after my brother. So just like Cora’s High School years of which yes, it’s gone so fast, time has also collapsed since the disappearance of three-fifths of my family. It seems like we were together last week or maybe it was forever ago, I can’t tell. But I can still rustle up their voices so maybe it’s the real time practice of my missing them through the fifteen years that lets me keep them somehow present.

Facebook is filled with graduation congratulations of Cora’s friends from other schools and soccer teams. Pictures of grandpas and grammas fill the scroll hugging their graduates while three generations celebrate. So now I’ll muster mom’s laugh and loud voice and Dad’s spontaneous singing of No Salt Salts Like Morten’s Salt Salts. I’ll sit again between them on the bench seat of whatever giant car he drove with the shop tools rattling in the trunk, their cigarette smoke making it tricky to see what’s in front of us.

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1 Comment

  1. You should send this piece to Narrative Magazine as is. When you send it, let me know and I’ll make sure it’s at the top of the editor’s reading list. I’m not sure I told you but my lovely daughter spilled a beer on my Mac and fried it. It’s been in the repair shop awaiting a part for two months. I’m just now trying to work on this pc — which does not stand for personal computer, in my mind. What would the world have been like without Steve Jobs? Probably filled with fine art developed by engineers (ooops! except for Jack because of you and Charles’ influence) whichl would be filled with utilitarian black plastic boxs, like this Dell..

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