You are often there, in the edges of my dreams. Quiet. Not speaking.
Not like you were in life. Working, hunting, fishing, fixing – always using your hands. And always, always a story to tell or a tease to offer. You were unable to suppress the grin, the crow’s feet forming around smiling, brown eyes. Yet there, in hazy dreams, you are silent, just watching. A presence. The others do not see you.
But I do.
When the sun rises and I’m off into my day, the dreams dissipate like the morning mist. Then, softly and quickly, wispy memories bring you back. As in my dreams, you are there. Quiet. No one sees you.
But I do.
When my son, who never knew or saw you, moves his hands like you did when he tells a story. When I see the flashing, dark eyes and hear the big laugh of my daughter. When I use a tool, then clean it and put it back in its place like you told me to do a thousand times. When I open that wooden box Uncle Pete made and see your initials on the blade of your knife. When men speak of leading and I remember the kind way that you did. When I see my own crow’s feet reflected back. Then, like that image in the mirror, like the vapor we are, you are gone.
I have now lived more of my life without you than with you. That former part seems like those dreams. A silent presence. Disjointed, fading scenes. Straining to recall more. Wishing we could talk, but silence. I wonder if anyone remembers you. I then question whether I do.
But I do, Dad.