Devin Dearing Preston: NYC writer, playwright, and storyteller

Hey Dad,

August 10, 2011

I found these on the internet. I googled your name and stumbled upon the pictorial evidence of your glory days as a world class professional shuffle board player. This isn’t how I like to remember you. I was a little frustrated that the shuffle board web sight’s archive for the Holiday open only went back to 2008. I know at one point, 2003 or 2004 there were pictures of us dancing the night away.

All that’s left in cyber space of you are these. They are from the Memorial day Shuffle Board Opens

Note the hand painted alligator in a cowboy hat shooting shuffle board

the last few years leading up to your death.

You drunkenly winning second

I”m hoping they caught you blinking. You appear to be too drunk to keep your eyes open.

This one I like cause I couldn’t remember what Kathy looked like. She was a saint for putting up with you for so many years.

That’s a wig she has on if I remember correctly. Gilli and I actually were at this tournament. This photo is reminding me of the whole evening. It was the last time I saw her, actually. You got a little too drunk and didn’t win. We sat with Kathy, as usual, and tried to laugh at her endless string of cancer jokes. Truth was she had cancer, it was terminal, and not that funny. But we laughed awkwardly out of respect as we sipped our coca-cola’s and pushed around our soggy fries. Gilli and I agreed later that we didn’t care to know that chemo made you loose your hair “every where, if you know what I mean.”

It also didn’t cure her of her cancer.

I’m still miffed that you didn’t give us a chance to come to her funeral, Flynt. That was really shitty. She was the person who kept me company for 8 challenging years of watching you drink yourself silly and shoot shuffle board. Which, isn’t exactly the most engaging sport to watch, if you must know. Finding out one night, a month and a half later, when you called me rambling because you were drunk and had no one to talk to, was also in bad form, sir.

“How’s Kathy doing?” I think I asked.

“She’s dead, Dev. How do you think she’s doin?” was your response.

I know she meant a lot to you. But she meant a lot to us, too. Keeping her death from us was selfish and cowardly.

Did you ever think that we would have liked to properly say good-bye?That we would have appreciated a chance to grieve? We could have maybe even given you some support through that time. That’s what family is for, Flynt. Her passing so clearly marks the beginning of your decent for me. But we never talked about it.

“How are you doin?” I managed, putting aside my own grief because I knew you had to be there with her in the end. What I was feeling had to wait.

“Well. I’m not good, Dev.”

That was all you said. It was enough. The rest of the conversation I have I forgotten. The same way I forgot how it was she wore her hair. But those words hang in my memory like a white flag marking your surrender to your disease.

I always liked her because she didn’t put up with your shit. She stood up to you, when no one else would. Told you when you were out of line. Took care of you when I clearly couldn’t. I worried less knowing you had her to demand that you behave yourself, more or less.

She gave you that shark tooth you are wearing in these pictures. You never took that ugly thing off.

“You see this here, Dev? It’s a shark’s tooth. It’s guaranteed to protect me from iny and all shark attacks. As long as Ah stay out of the wader.”

You loved that joke. I always responded with a flat “Ha, ha, very funny dad.” Mine and Gilli’s programmed retort to all your bad jokes. You know I loved them, though, right? Almost as much as I loved that shark tooth Kathy gave you. Guaranteed to protect you as long as you steered clear of danger.

I only wish it could have protected you from attacking yourself.

I miss you both.

Love always,

Dearing

 

 

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Categories: Letters I Will Never Send

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