Essay

Phases of the Moon and other Lunacies [Flash Fiction]

 

In memory alive or in memory dead. What is that? I would like to know. I do not have to say it to you, that I know keeping him alive as I do day in and day out is far and above what marking the date on the calendar proves or disproves. This is a fact I assert most pronouncedly: I did think of him that day as I do and have done every day since the day he died, a date whose numerals I play when buying Mega Millions or Powerball tickets. I do not think of his dying except as but one of many images of my dad when recollecting him. The calendar is not part of the remembrance; it is not necessarily so that I must mark the date every year to appropriately remember him, pay homage to him, pay my respects to my Dad. I wish I could convince you otherwise, if in fact you disagree with me, but then that wish is just what it is and remains where it belongs, in the realm of wishing. All wishing is a past tense assertion for a present time lack, and in the end remains as useless as wishing for water from the moon.

Remembering happens when it happens–recollecting is something that helps remembering or is the result and thus the after effect of having remembered. That I did recall at all is what matters. The pedantry of counting days or of marking them is not where my heart beats for my father. Notions of time, of infinity and of eternity must be handled appropriately and not within the narrow constraints of contemporary semi-literacy that is passing for literate enough. I do not watch calendars or clocks–I pay more attention to the sun, the moon and constellations passing across the night sky in what I like to call the con stellar clock. Keeping my father alive in memory is not the same as keeping his death or dying or having died alive, none of these latter variations on the theme of being dead the same as the former, keeping the memories of his living alive. He does live in me as he does still talk to me. I hear his voice as I hear mine now as I write. I really do not need anyone around me telling me what and where and when or how I should remember . . . but what do I remember, recall, recollect, re-memory functions in mysterious ways, does it not? Of course it does.

I was working that day–the anniversary. I do not recall what else had transpired that day or any of the days leading to this day I should have remembered . . . I do not–cannot–recollect what else significantly transpired. I think perhaps I had gotten sushi take-out to bring home that afternoon–or was it evening–I don;t even recall now if it were my Saturday afternoon class or my weeknight class, which site I cannot recall either. There is one place we take-out from that is on the way home from one site I teach at in the evening. I do not know what this says, and I am not asking this because I need to ask it, nor am I asking this question because I must know the answer–knowing in this pedantic way, this way that is necessary only by being pedantic.

I have more in the way of a response than can be dreamed of by most people’s philosophy–everything comes back to Hamlet in the graveyard. We make graveyards out of so many things, so many places–even so many people. We do not people our graveyards as much as we graveyard the people in out lives. I contemplate Death, being dead, what an angel of death would be, would look like, could . . . the moon in the sky above the leafless tree in silhouette behind the streetlamp glowing softly amber I think I should say, the moon full in the sky clear and crips, crystal, we like saying, the face of the Man in the Moon distinct tonight, the shadowy patches forming its face, now all of sudden, the Sea of Tranquility comes to mind, my dad telling me where we were going to land, there, that shadowy patch, he added words for me to find what he was pointing at, we were going to land there, on the moon, I recall thinking that I recollected this.

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