My dad had really blue eyes.
I used to study them when we sat together for lunch at the Barbecue Pit in Escondido.
We ate there whenever our thrift store adventures took us in that direction.
Oddly enough, it was the only place we really ever sat across from one another.
Generally we got fast food, found a shady spot to park and we ate in the car, side by side. We had the greatest conversations, but we didn’t always look one another squarely in the face.
At that BBQ place, we did.
I haven’t been back there since my dad passed away in 2004. It’s not really a paradise for vegetarians. I’ll never eat a meal there again, but I need to walk in the door sometime to see what it does to me, you know? Go somewhere meaningful to check out my psyche? Haven’t done that purposefully in quite a while.
I wonder what my dad would think of the way I’ve handled my grief for him. I wonder if he has a way to look at my eyes now to see what’s behind them.
We spoke frequently about his own parents and their passing, but I don’t recall his grief.
I was only 12 when his mom died and I was away at college when his dad passed on, so I don’t remember if my dad’s eyes looked different for those events. I don’t remember if he wore his sadness there or if he packed it away someplace.
I do recall that he was always interested in the parallels between his own life and theirs, particularly his mom’s. She died at age 68. My dad always said he wanted to make it at least one year longer than she did. He was 69 when he passed.
I want to live a lot longer than that. I figure I’ve got to get in a few years on behalf of my best friend too. If I live to be 92, that gives me forty-four years on her life. I can split that difference with her and tell everyone we each lived to be 70. That’s a good long life for us both and it beats out my dad, right? That’s my plan. 92.
Back to the eyes. Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I see my dad’s eyes looking back. But his were really blue, and mine are not. Mine are greener and lately they’ve been bloodshot. Too many tears, not enough sleep.
I miss my dad, I miss my friend, and I worry about my son. Oh, how I worry about my son. And myself.
This has been a hard week on my eyes.