My father’s hands are large and calloused with supple jointed thumbs.
I have my mother’s hands. I’m a man. Not a man like my father. A man like my mother.
I’d tell you about my mother’s hands, but I can only say so much for so long about a good thing.
But I’ll tell you about my father.
I’ll tell you something.
Oil rig at sea. Drillers drilling. Sweat. Dripping sweat. The moon overhead. Men work under lamplight. Roughnecks with rough hands. Hands of a father. Smoldering filter in dirty fingers. Dirty fingers of my father’s dirty work. A flare dropped down a well. A spark from machinery. Not by my father’s hands.
They told us father didn’t feel a thing when it went up.
Not a thing.
He just went, but not up.
Daddy, I’ve done a lot of acid. I see burning plains. Fire skirting along the horizon, flirting with you, but I can’t put it out daddy, I can’t put it out.
He holds my hand. Mother’s in another state. Father’s woman in the other room. I am with father. Hand in hand.
Son. At some point you’ve got to come down. My father said this to me and I did this for him. I did this for him, and when I asked him to come down he never did.
I’ll tell you something else. Something I need to say.
I’ll tell you what I saw when I went up.
I saw you.
We spoke. So here I am talking to you father. You left me with mother and I love mother, but I want to love you. You left me with mother’s hands and I don’t understand why you left. I don’t understand where you left me, but I want to understand. I want to because I need to.
Let me see you father.
When I see you, we sit out along the plains with a bottle of red wine and a cowboy steak we eat with our hands. You smoke a Rothman’s how mother told me you smoked Rothman’s. You hand me one and we smoke and watch the plains. There’s no sea here. There’s nothing. We’re safe. I tell you this when you panic. I hold your hand then. You ask where we are and I see the sweat on your forehead and I see the veins in your eyes and I know, you need to know. You must.
Where are we?
You don’t know father. You aren’t meant to.
Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower