Monday, November 14, 2011

The Envelope

[Apologies for a 100% running-free post.]

Last week, I came home to find an envelope at my door.

A FedEx envelope.

I know! FedEx means something really good. Or really bad. Or in this case, something to be really ambivalent about.

I knew what was in the envelope before I opened it. It was something that I'd been waiting months for, and also dreading.

Inside the envelope was another, letter-sized envelope. Inside that envelope, a check. It was the check from my father's estate.. my inheritance. (In case you missed it... The post about the passing of my father.)

It wasn't a lot of money. It was enough to pay off my modest debt, which I did. And after that bit of dutifully doing of the right thing, there was even a little left over.

That was nice.


But, you know, I'd trade a whole lot of cushion money for years full of fond memories, stacks of letters with stories and sound advice, event just a good idea of who this man was, and how I'm like him, and how I'm different.

Getting that FedEx envelope is the last exchange I'll have with father. It was wholly unsatisfying and empty, like a period on an incomplete sentence. But, pretty much true to form.

Since he died... or more precisely, since I found out that he'd died... I've come to imagining that as the years ticked by, my father wanted to find some way to connect with me. When I turned 10, then 20, then 30, and yes, even 40, he must have had regrets and felt like he was missing something. I bet he just had no idea how to break through that thick ice.

I'd like to think that he wanted to make it up to me somehow, starting, maybe, with a gift, a gift to make up for the missed birthdays and Christmases and Graduations and wedding and the births of children and a sorry-about-the-divorce beer, but he didn't even know me, let alone what get me, what would come close to making up for all of that. So he gave me what he could... money. And he did it in the least personal way possible, through the mail, with no accompanying note because, as we know, he's been dead for almost 2 years, which is a very extreme way to avoid personal contact. I guess that was just his way.

So, I took matters into my own hands.

I completed the sentence.

I helped him buy me a gift.

And I believe if you look in Emily Post's Book of Etiquette, it will tell you that the proper gift for a posthumous apology for not being a part of your son's life is... a Ducati.

Ducati, saying "I'm sorry I screwed up", with horsepower and sex appeal, since 1926.

It doesn't make up for 44 years without any kind of relationship with my father, but it's red, it's loud, and if you ask it to, it goes forward in a big hurry, like a cheetah with its ass on fire.*

It was a fantastic 3+ hour ride home on the back roads of Indiana between Merrillville and Carmel. Liberating. Exhilarating. Gratifying. I won't say I've come to peace with my father, yet, but that ride sure helped. I bet the next one will, too.

Good running,

*Yes, for those keeping count, that's two Ducati in my garage. And yes, the plural of "Ducati" is "Ducati". (In case you missed it... How I came to own my first Ducati.)