The most vivid memory I have of my Dad is the one I want to forget the most. After all these years, more than two decades, my memories are fading into a collection of stories that I have told and retold, becoming fairy tales. I am not even sure if they are even accurate anymore, if perhaps a chinese whispers effect has distorted them without the memories to verify their accuracy available anymore. It is a harsh reality but even worse is that my vivid memory is not when he was alive, no, but the day of his funeral.
I stepped up to the open casket sheepishly, not knowing where to look, knowing that all eyes were on me, gauging my reaction. I stepped up to the side of the coffin, towards the wider end, and peered over at the body lying inside. My eyes darted from his odd unnatural looking face straight down to his hands. One on top of the other resting on his stomach. What a totally foreign pose, one I had never witnessed previously. On the knuckles exposed on the hand resting on top were two grazes. One on the knuckle above the middle finger and one above the ring finger. But there was a fly on the knuckle above the middle finger, and it repelled me. I wanted to shoo it away so badly, but I didn’t want to reach in to the coffin. The thought of my skin accidentally brushing that of my dead fathers repelled me even more. I did not want to know if he felt cold, or if his skin was rough to the touch, perhaps smooth like jelly, maybe it would be so cold it would sting my skin, or maybe he would feel warm and alive and nightmares of him trapped inside a coffin 6 feet under dirt struggling for air while terrified and helpless would haunt me every night.
So instead I reluctantly and hesitantly walked away, leaving the fly to devour the corpse that was my Dad. Instead the hand with the grazed knuckle housing a fly was the haunting image that crept into my dreams for many many nights from that day forth.