When my father writes to me he says, I know this must be awkward for you. I think of things that have been awkward for me: Like the way a tongue first crosses into your mouth. Or when you say I love you, and the response is not “Ditto.” Sucking in cigarette smoke. Or pretending to suck in cigarette smoke, holding it in your mouth.
Or when you’re still reading your ex’s horoscope, searching for signs of an impending celestial malady. Or when you are talking to your therapist about it and thinking, I can’t believe I’m paying to still talk about this asshole.
The number of months you can pretend to smoke a cigarette with somebody that doesn’t love you. Or, the life’s sum of Christmases in which your father shows up at the door; also, the ones he did not.
There are, of course, any number of ways we commit little violences against each other, bend new dents into an old body.
I know this must be awkward for you, he says, but please keep writing to me.