In the later Harry Potter books, (I can’t remember which, maybe the 4th or so), there’s an object called a Pensieve that Dumbledore has to hold his memories. He pulls the memories from his mind (through his ear, of course) and deposits them in the bowl-shaped Pensive for safe keeping. Sometimes I feel like this blog is my Pensieve. A memory will come to me and I’ll type it out and then feel better that I don’t have to hold onto it any longer. I can stop trying to remember it because it’s here to look back on later. Or forget completely, in the case of today’s memory.
Father’s day is coming up this weekend and whenever I think of my dad, I think of good stories of canoing with him, and riding motorcycles, and how Molly loves him to pieces, and how he’s quiet but funny. Then I always remember this story that makes me feel so nauseatingly guilty that I wish I could forget it. I bet that neither my dad nor my sister would even remember it today, but I do and I still feel bad twenty-five or so years later.
I was, I don’t know, maybe seven or eight, my sister was nine or ten, and my dad took us to K-Mart to buy a softball glove for my sister. We shopped around trying to find the perfect glove, we paid and went out to the parking lot. About the point where we got to our truck, I absolutely lost it. I cried and cried about how Andrea got something and I didn’t get anything, and how come she gets to get something and I don’t!? Typical bratty little sister, right? Well my dad, bless his heart, turned right around and took us back into the store and told me to pick something out.
If you’ve ever been in the middle of a meltdown or an argument, and your opponent caves in or suddenly agrees with you when you least expect it, you tend to just sort of blank out.
Wha…? You mean I can get something? I was expecting to cry and moan all the way home and enjoy feeling sorry for myself.
We marched back into the store where I proceeded to find nothing I wanted. There wasn’t really anything there that I had to have, I just wanted to cause a fuss. I remember walking through the aisles of the toy area thinking to myself that I had just been called out. My dad said I could get whatever it was that I wanted so badly that I lost my gourd in the parking lot over, but now that I’m back in the store, how do I tell him that there wasn’t really anything that I wanted in the first place?
I ended up picking something, ANYTHING just so I wouldn’t have to walk out of the store empty handed. I picked a stuffed Hush Puppy-type dog that I could not bring myself to play with. Ever. Looking at it made me feel terrible. It was my Guilt Puppy, my Puppy of Shame and for years afterwards, whenever I gathered up old toys for the Salvation Army, I always left the Guilt Puppy on the shelf in my closet to remind me what an ass I was that night at K-Mart. My dad was completely patient, he didn’t raise his voice, he just said OK, let’s go get you something, when what he probably wanted to do was slap my bratty little face.
So there, take that memory from me. I’m done. I’m tired of holding onto it. I’d much prefer to remember the good things like eating steamers at George and Suzie’s picnic with my dad, or how happy he was for me after I passed my motorcycle class. Even though he doesn’t read this, I’d still like to say, sorry Dad for that night at K-Mart, and thank you for everything you do. Happy Father’s Day!