19 June 2016

My Dad, and Eye

When I want to be reminded of my father, I have only to go as far as the closest mirror. He died 14 years ago, so it’s been a long time since I’ve seen his lovely face. In the meantime, I have my own face, which according to his elderly friends, is the spitting image of his own.

We used to get comments all the time when I was little. They would usually begin with ‘Oh my!’, ‘Or well well well, no question who YOUR father is’. I would bream with pride at our sameness. My older sister, who looked nothing like the rest of the family, was excluded from our universe. But occasionally the grownups would take it down to a jolly whisper and say something about the ‘postman’. I was always tempted to tell Sue that she was adopted. But I took the highroad and told her that she was 'an accident’, instead.

Me. (No, not really)
By the time my dad was in his fifties, he had sparkly silver hair and was just as handsome as ever. But there were a few signs of aging. Most noticeably his right eyelid, which had started to sag. I was disbelieving at first  - because I thought he would be permanently perfect. And I optimistically thought it might just be a temporary glitch. But the sag just deepened, and when he was very sleepy, the lid hung lazily over his sparkly blue eye like a hammock.

Recently it has been taking me longer to blink. The left eye works wonderfully, but the right eye is a beat behind. It has to work a bit harder to reopen, because apparently, my right eyelid is starting to sag. I’m a little surprised, and I’m not sure why. Everything is right on track. I am the same age dad was when his lid gave away, and right about now he started to creak, get hair in weird places, and spend the afternoon in a lawn chair, reading the news, eating triple cream brie and drinking white wine. And my hair, of course, is not naturally brown.

My dads old friends still tell me I like Stu, and my heart still swells with pride.  When I close my eyes I can still recall his clear and gentle voice. But when I open my eyes, the right lid gets stuck and takes that extra millisecond to open.  So to remember my dear dad I don’t even need to look in the mirror, or at his photos.  To be reminded of my lovely father, all I need to do is blink.