One Page for 3/27/2019

Hello ūüôā It seems indulgent to, but I’m adding a smiley right off the bat in this post because I’ve written another one-pager before March ends, thus preserving my once-a-month streak…for now. ūüôā (Thanks for indulging me that second smiley!)

This one ended up being a sad one as well; perhaps I’m a glutton for this kind of emotional pain? Kidding, half. I’m quite happy about this one-pager honestly. It’s been one of my most cathartic ones, and I’ll keep my preface brief today by saying it’s grounded in the very real experience of losing my father before I felt like I was a complete person. Consequently in the years since, it’s been a lot of reaching backwards for memories, much as I always try to live my life moving forward.


For ambience:

The words:

Prompt: I looked up at the night sky and thought of the stories he used to tell about the stars, the constellations, and it seemed sad that I couldn’t remember a single one of them. There’s a string of stars called Orion’s Belt, and I think Orion is known as a hunter, but I’m not sure of what. It’s funny to think that, because in a way I’m a hunter, too, only I hunt…

My response: …for memories of him. In some ways, it isn’t hard to because we have several shelves in the gameroom full of photobooks my dad stuffed with important and not-so-important records of our time as a complete family. I prodded at him as a kid, trying to find out why he insisted on including the photos that didn’t make sense to me to include: ones in which my chin was tilted so I had chins, ones where the sun’s glare had caused overexposure, ones where my mom’s hand stuck out, because she wasn’t ready. “These are also important to remember,” my dad had said. “And besides, we have plenty of room in the books to fill.” And so, it’s those “in-between” pictures that make the memory-hunting hard again. They remind me that every moment then, we were living and creating home in our minds. When the photos aren’t enough to sustain me and soothe the ache of knowing home is a place i have to recreate without my dad, I try our home videos, or more like the ones he taped. When those fail, I lie down, close my eyes, and have to do the devastating work of waiting patiently and actually making my mark: hitting upon a moment I’d thought I’d lost forever and will stay lost to a home of the past, once I open my eyes again.

A Happy Meal

July 28, 2016 | for my father


Fifteen minutes. Then finally, “Sorry, we’re closed.” Fourteen¬†minutes. The end of the workday was taking its time.

Still slick with oil from its former owner’s fingers, the toy rested on its side across the table. The painted-on smile was perfectly shaped. He couldn’t wait to surprise his daughter¬†with the find, if he did end up getting to keep it.¬†She¬†would be overjoyed.¬†Each Happy Meal she had opened in the past few weeks had¬†ended in¬†a pout and his heart deflating¬†a little. He could’ve gone to the cashiers¬†to just ask for the toy she wanted, but his embarrassment held him back.¬†He couldn’t say¬†the name of the princess right, and “purple dress, purple” got him nowhere the last time.

But they might come back for it. They left their table not long ago, bellies full and mouths still chattering away. At least, if it was his daughter who had lost her toy, he definitely would.

Ten minutes. His favorite song out of the long and always unchanged soft rock soundtrack to the restaurant started playing. He let out a full yawn, sound and all, now that the place was cleared of all but the staff.

Maybe he could just take it now and pack it away with his things. If the family came back for it, they would understand. They would think that another kid took it, or that it had gotten bussed away with the rest of their uneaten food.

He reached for the plastic doll and righted it up onto its feet, then took out a napkin from his waiter’s¬†apron pouch to wipe off the oil. Much better, and ready¬†for his daughter to play with.

He rubbed his sore shoulders and neck and rolled up his sleeve to cover an oil stain his wife was sure to tsk at. Being open on a holiday meant more customers, but it also meant more heavy trays of food to run back and forth. Technically people could still walk in and order food to-go, but he was pretty sure he was done for the day. He would simply refuse. He only had energy left for the drive home.

He pictured¬†his daughter’s face peeking through the window of the back door. She would be so happy with the toy. The thought that her joy might come¬†at the expense of another child’s crossed his mind, but it didn’t stay.

The door chime stopped his daydreaming.¬†His head jerked back up, and he¬†craned his neck to see¬†whether it was one of the people from the toy’s table. It wasn’t one of the flood of faces from today,¬†and¬†the person left when they were told it was too late to order even to-go. He let out a breath that he didn’t realize he was holding.

“Where did you get this, daddy?” She grabbed it out of his open hand with the eager force of a delighted child. Immediately she started twirling it in the air, choreographing dances¬†and¬†spinning stories in her head that he could only wonder what they were about.

He smiled wide and said,¬†“It was meant for you, so I found it.”

That was all she needed to know.