Saturday, December 10, 2011

These Boots Were Made for Flooding

In the two weeks after my father died, I felt like I was living underwater. Voices took on that slow-motion, garbled quality and I struggled to breathe. When my Mother called on a Sunday to say the lower level of her home was filled with water, it felt..symbolic.

My Mother was beside herself, just not prepared to deal with one more crisis. We all just wanted to close the door to the house and walk away forever, but we knew we couldn't.  We set to work. Facing reality had become all too required in our family.

We descended the stairs into water, the carpet squishing beneath our shoes. We sighed at the mess, at the mess of our family and got to work.

As I vacuumed the water from inside a closet, I found a pair of silver and gold cowboy boots my Dad had received as a joke. They were garish...and funny. I thought about the many times when it was least expected,  my Dad did something silly, quietly funny and weird. It made us laugh. Even my Mother, who tried hard to reel him in.

Mooning the camera in the Easter egg hunt photos.

Inappropriately placing the carrot to identify our creation as a snowMAN.

Pretending to almost drop the collection plate during the quietest time at church.

Wearing a tie to bed over some pajamas my mother had suggested he start wearing.

I pulled on the boots. Just like my Dad, I didn't say "Hey! Come look at me in these stupid boots!". I just continued to work in them, four sizes too big, vacuuming lovingly like a cross between Donna Reed and Liberace, dumping the shop vac'ed water into the tub.

Special Agent rolled past the room I was in, stopped and backed up.
"Sweet boots", he said.
I shrugged.

Twin swished past carrying a load of items and stopped.
"Nice." she commented, cringing.
I smiled.

I felt better.

This post was inspired by a prompt from Write on Edge's RemembeRED: cleaning, which said Think of a time that you “cleaned house.” Consider the subtext—we’re not writing about Windex here. We’re writing about relationships. Or feelings. Or a captured moment in time. Consider how dialogue and body language bring the moment to life for the reader.


Sadie Wilson said...

I love it. I miss him. I am glad to hear the stories as I knew so little about him.

Venus said...

This is such a lovely post. I'm sorry for your loss, but I love that you are able to, amid even more chaos, remember the good things and keep his memory alive.