In this month’s essay, Sheila Squillante describes the struggles she faces when she creates a narrative about her father.
“Whole conversations that I know my father and I had are more than murky. I can see us sitting in his car outside of my college dorm the warm spring day I had to leave, sobbing and ashamed, my suite full of girlfriends and get a ‘psychiatric single room’ in a dorm on the far side of campus. I remember the feel of the black felted seats under my worrying fingers, and an overwhelming, surprising sense that he understood the exact shape and depth of my pain. But what did we say? Add to this the fact that my father was a terse, quiet man who largely kept his mouth closed unless he had something ‘important’ to say, and what’s left is, at best, a silhouette, a profile, a shadow. I want his words to fill the picture in and they are precisely what I don’t have.”
What memories would you piece together if you wrote a narrative of your father? Would it be a journey of smells, sounds, gestures, expressions, or a combination?