WritingForums.com - The Thing About Yesterday (360 words)

  • The Thing About Yesterday (360 words) by LouLou

    The Thing About Yesterday - an essay

    Today is my father’s birthday.

    I don’t know whether he’ll celebrate it or exactly how old he is or if anyone else will remember.

    But I do.

    I remember all the birthdays. I remember birthdays of random kids in class 3F eighteen years ago. I remember the birthday of my first boyfriend who left me because his ex got pregnant and he thought it best he ‘face up to his responsibility’. I remember the birthday of my son’s father who, last I heard, lives in Australia and likes mountain-biking. I remember the probably-birthday of a baby I never had and count its never-actually-got-there age each year.

    I forget yesterday though; couldn’t tell you a thing about it.

    Today I thought about a birthday card.

    I hardly knew which one to buy. What do you choose for a father whose surname you no longer have? What picture or poem best says, hey, we’ve not been in the same room since I was fifteen and your brief spell in prison doesn’t bother me and I don’t mind that you took all the photographs or that though you listen when we pluck up the courage to call you, you tell us – not entirely unkindly – that it’s not safe for us to be near you and we must never contact you again.

    A picture of a guitar and simple text; that’s what card seemed right. That’s who he is. He’s the man who made music and said little. The man who came home and wasn’t there, the man who left and always was.

    So I bought my father a birthday card.

    I wrote the words in my best handwriting. I stuck the stamp parallel to the envelope’s edge. Then I carried it with my to-be-returned library books and an umbrella (even though it was sunny) to the post-box, and sent it to his last known address.

    When I got home I opened the drawer where I keep my writing notes, my to-send and ticked-off submissions, my ideas, my wishes, all neatly organised. The drawer’s handle came away in my hand.

    I was supposed to fix it yesterday. That’s the thing about yesterday – it remembers.
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