My Father Came Back from the Grave with an Important Announcement
The house was the same and yet it wasn’t the same … after dad passed away. It’s been a few months, and I think this month has been the worst. Right after it happenend, there was the shock. And then all the relatives stayed over to share the grief. It was easy to be distracted with the funeral arrangements, the legal stuff, the insurance, whatever. Mom and I kept busy.
But now the grief is really kicking in. Cuz everyone’s gone, and it’s still the same house, but it’s dad-less. The Playstation 2, for instance, it’s still there – and it’s still got two controllers. But I don’t have anyone to race against. I can still hear my dad screaming at his character to turn and beating the controller against his leg in mock anger. His couch is still there – but there’s no dad to fill it. Same with our fridge. It’s got his favorite beer, but nobody is there to drink it, and none of us have wanted to throw it away. Not yet. We know eventually we have to get rid of his beer, but we just can’t.
Oh sorry dude, I didn’t mean to bring you down – I’m just, you know, setting the scene. Cuz last night just blew my head. I tossed and turned and didn’t really remember falling asleep, but then I heard a rattling from the kitchen. The bright red digits of my clock burned 4:13 in the blackness. Mom must have been up shuffling around again. I decided to go talk to her.
There I was in my Dead or Alive 2 T-shirt and boxers, padding my bare feet across our cold hardwood floor, headed toward a bright light I saw coming from the kitchen. The refrigerator door was open. I suddenly leapt back in a startle when I realized that the figure standing in front of it wasn’t my mother.
It was a guy. He was moving aside the pickle jars and Pepsi cans and finally pulled out a can of beer. A stranger? Breaking into my house to steal our beer? He turned around and a halo of light was formed around him by the light of the fridge. I didn’t recognize him – not right away – but then I realized it was my dad, looking like he did in those pictures I saw from back when he was dating my mom. He cracked open his beer with a hiss and spoke matter-of-factly.
“Well son, I’ve seen the other side,” he announced. “And it’s good. Real good. Don’t worry about me. But just one thing:”
“… Dad?” I asked. I reached out slowly, afraid to touch him.
“Yeah, duh, it’s your old man,” He said, swigging his beer. He gulped. “Listen up: this is important. Hold down all four shoulder buttons, then press Up Up Down Square Triangle.”
“What?” I croaked.
He set his beer down, demonstrating with his fingers. “Listen to your old man! If you knew what I knew, you’d pay attention. This is key. This is how it’s done. All four shoulder buttons – hold ‘em down, all at once – and you’re still holding them, right? And then you press up … up … down … square … then triangle. Then you can let go. Blam!” He picked his beer back up, took a monster gulp. “There you go.”
I stared at him blankly while he drank. My eyes and his eyes locked in the dark kitchen. He seemed to be expecting something. “All four shoulder buttons,” I said, “Then uh – up up down? Square … triangle?”
Dad closed his eyes and seemed perfectly calm, content, letting my words hit him. “Aww yah. That’s it big guy. That’s the one. You got it.”
And then a couple hours later I woke up. The sun had just started to turn the horizon into an arc of deep purple. I skittered into the kitchen and saw no sign of what had happened, although I think a beer was missing.
Regardless, I emptied the rest of the cans and threw them out. I’m pretty sure dad was done with ‘em.
Yah, I dunno. Some kind of cheat code … but to which game? And … what the hell is dad doing up there?
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