Thursday, August 16, 2007

The names of my father's wines

I can't believe all the renovations they've done on the Lotus Garden, that terrible vegan restaurant in Chinatown that I only went to once or twice, years ago, so maybe it wasn't a terrible as I remember I just remember everything was fried, I couldn't eat it. Anyway, it's become some sophisticated lounge, all of these different areas and even the bathroom is sparkling white granite or something with slate floors. I'm trying to get back to the area where my father’s sitting, he's waiting for me but first there's so much arguing with my mother, the other relatives, we're sitting on a large rug on the floor like one of the rugs in the house I grew up in. We’re sitting in the position of play except there's only arguing.

When I finally get downstairs, I'm worried that my father will be angry that he's waiting so long, I didn't want to sit at the bar in the front anyway and when I sit down across from him I realize he's so far away, there are several people between us -- the counter is much larger than I remember, like there's a whole room of sparkling white granite between me and my father but are these wooden stools going to hurt my back? My father is intent on reading his newspaper and I'm anticipating his rage, I have to yell to get his attention he's so far away, now on a different level of the restaurant and when he looks up I'm startled to see the eager and excited expression on his face, young and sunburnt, nose peeling underneath the floppy fisherman's hat he's wearing. Oh, I'm thinking -- this is actually going to be fun.

I point to the lounge area near my father with comfortable blue sofas -- should we go over there? And that's when I wake up, oh my father's dead I can't even remember him smiling at me like that except maybe when I was a little kid and even then he was mostly trying to teach me competition, when he taught me chess he really wanted to win -- when he taught me how to throw a ball he'd scream so I didn't do it like a girl I didn't want to do it at all. I memorized all the names of my father's wines so he would be proud. Yet in this dream he's smiling and I'm so relieved, when I wake up I'm both angry and grateful.

When I visited my father before he died, my mother said Matthew's here and he looked up from his OxyContin haze and said oh hi Matthew, how are you? That's when I started sobbing, sobbing was the color of that room maybe blue like those sofas I mean blue in my dreams the color of comfort. It's crazy the way my dreams pulsate with such crazy symbolism, I mean I don't feel symbolism in my waking life or at least not like arguing in the dark room on the floor where everyone is alive and angry, arguing just like always -- but then an excitement across the white white counter on the other side. Heaven, really -- I mean I don't believe in anything of the sort, nothing but worms devouring the corpse but in my dreams it’s a different story, those comfortable blue sofas, oh.

And in the bathroom, that sparkling white bathroom with slate floors, my parents loved slate floors they re-did the porch we never sat on in slate but never the entryway because my father said it would be too expensive. In the middle of that bathroom was a ring of metal with a stand, just above head-level, in the dream I thought oh, this means the bathroom isn't finished -- but now I realize this was a noose in that white white bathroom, on the way to visit my father on the other side I mean I guess that noose is the unfinishedness of the feelings I have for my father, the unfinished violence of his abuse and now I'm thinking also about my mother, how she's still him -- maintaining his illusions, her own illusions, so that the violence can continue to occur underneath. But also that my father in the dream looked more like me than him and what would it mean for me to get to that place of childlike excitement?

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