What Dreams May Come

By Gina Williams

April 22, 2019

What Dreams May Come

If it wasn't for me, maybe he'd still be dreaming. When I told my Dad I wanted to live forever, he said, "Just wait 'till you get to be my age, then you'll wish you were dead." I was eight. He was twenty-eight. He was always joking, never kidding.

He’d sing this old song, “The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out.” We’d sing, “The worms play pinochle on your snout.”

If it wasn’t for me, maybe he’d still be laughing. He could be a retired Navy captain, a college professor.

If only I hadn’t shown up when he was too young to know better, maybe… I remember the day he broke. When he came home that night, there wasn’t any air left. He was a popped balloon. All of his edges sagged.

When a man can’t do it on his own, the failure puts notches in his spine, bends him, twists him up like knotted wood.

He’d sing, “Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest.” We’d sing, “Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum.”

My dad cut his leg sawing lumber for a playhouse when I was five, before he lost his job, before he started over digging ditches.

I looked on from the sandbox, as he yelled out and the saw fell from his hand. I felt sorry for his hurt as blood bubbled to the surface. I remember thinking it looked like blackberry jam.

And then I thought, “He’s real. He’s a real man.”

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