A letter from a father to a daughter he doesn't know.
|"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one…" I sang that song for two hours today. Not the whole song, just the "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only wa-un" part. Two hours, me in the mirror, standing on that little pink bathroom rug your mother bought a thousand years ago. How I still got that rug, I have no idea. Why I still got it, I have no idea. "But I'm not the only wa-un…" That last word, wa-un, I squeeze it out, wa-unnn, like that, slow, until it's barely there.
Jesus! You’re going to think I’m crazy.
I just want you to know if you’re reading this, not to be alarmed. I’m not crazy, just bored. I’m living by myself these days. Lots of time to think. I want you to know that I've been thinking of you, and I now know you were right to wash your hands of me. I don’t hold it against you. Not any more. I mean it. The reason for this letter is to let you know you weren’t wrong. I just want you to know a tiny bit about me now, so I’m telling you, this is what I do these days. This is who I am. I don’t do much. I got no electricity, which is a personal choice I made for myself. I could afford it if I wanted it. I don’t want it.
Before the virus came, I was going to gladly tell you how I was doing okay without you. I was doing just fine without you or your mother for the last twenty-five, thirty years, but then this virus happened. Far as I know, it killed you. Far as you know, it killed me. But it hasn’t. Not me. Not yet. I stay inside. Don’t leave my house, ever. Eddie, he’s a cabbie, I give him a list and he picks up my groceries. Gets well paid for it too. Delivers it all right to my door. He’s kind of become my buddy.
I’ve gotten fat. You might as well know that too. I eat like a bird, but you wouldn’t believe how fat I am. And I've let my hair grow. It’s the longest it’s ever been, and it bugs me to no end. I use scissors so the hair doesn’t grow over my ears or into my eyes, but in the back it’s long and it’s all gone gray. Reaches about the high middle of my back. If I had a rubber band, I’d make a ponytail, or maybe a man-bun, but I don’t have a rubber band. I have to remember to put Rubber Bands on Eddie’s shopping list. I have a little battery-powered buzzer-clipper thing for my beard. I keep the beard pretty trim. It started out as a goatee, you might or might not remember. Now it’s a full beard and its gun metal gray. Ugly, ugly, ugly, but I’m not going to shave every day of my life, you kidding me? I walk around the house in my boxers. I go to sleep in my boxers. Remind me, I've got to change my boxers. [smiley face] Just kidding. I don’t need you to remind me. Eddie will remind me. Eddie’s my cabbie, did I tell you? He’ll say, Hey Papa, you want me to take in your dirty clothes? and then he’ll wait while I get a pile together. He’s good like that. Calls me Papa. Gets deodorant for me even though I don’t put it on the list. So I use it. I guess it’s a hint, I don’t know. I take showers. Don’t worry, I haven’t turned into Howard Hughes. Well, except for my toenails. I got scary long toenails.
So there you have it, my dear ex-daughter, your ex-father is a fat old gray-haired man with disgustingly long toenails. "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only wa-un…" I still got that fucking song in my head!
Anyway, kid, that’s about all I have to tell you. Keep your heart off your sleeve. That’s my best advice. If you ever want to come by, I’ll put my address on the envelope. You wouldn’t have to stay long, you know, come in say howdy-do and you’re out of here. Of course you could stay a bit longer than that, if you wanted. We could have dinner, maybe. What I’m trying to say is you wouldn’t have to stay any longer than you wanted. You wouldn't have to take care of me or anything. I’d never let you. And you don’t need to, remember, I got things pretty well figured out here, me and Eddie. Don’t worry about that. Don’t worry about anything is my real best advice to you.
And don't smoke