My father lived in his childhood home for the six years before he died. There had been multiple marriages, bastard offspring, and elaborate manifestos on the cruelty of human experience prior to this period of time, all of which I was a vague breathy part of. We didn't bother to talk much even when, by some kind of internal obligation, both of us decided to meet up over fried foods and stiff drinks. The two of us always enjoyed getting drunk together, almost as if we had gotten good at forming the habit separately, before testing it out on each other with mixed and foamy results.
In that same vain, I didn't know what else to do other than solemnly gulp after winded toasts from my father's remaining connections at the wake. I was the only one of his children present, invited by his lawyer, a former high school track star named Yancy, who was also a known sex offender. Needless to say, the two of us didn't discuss much other than fees and signatures, before carrying on with our intended life purposes.
I was twenty-nine, single, and mindlessly at a loss back in my hometown. My parents had gotten divorced when I was fifteen, following an elaborate three-week period of fondling Holly Walden in her mother's office/gym. I couldn't help but express some visible signs of disappointment then when my mother screamed variations of abuse and mental rape, soon packing all of my bags for me. I thought about Holly for the subsequent three months of transitioning that followed, before meeting a long-haired brunette named Leona in my algebra class. I spent the next fourteen years of my life getting toned and stoned, working in claustrophobic spaces, finding gray shades of lust and inspiration. Nothing had much of a bearing on my life as I learned to sink deeper into crawl spaces and top dresser drawers.
However, despite all of my adapted perceptions, I couldn't help but lose myself upon opening the chipped yellow door to the house where my parents would stick me on weekends when swinging reached a plateau above cliche. The fixtures carried with them the same dusty screen, the familiar stale aroma of my dead grandparents now complimented by that of my father. Dad had left his imprint on the space; dirty dishes filling the sink and counter tops, glass ash trays and empty bottles reflecting low wattage. Bags of trash lied dormant in the kitchen amongst crusty pizza boxes from monthly coupon deals previously. The fridge was covered in clever post-it reminders all of which made no logical sense to me as I shuffled through phrases like "Glory be to J.D." and "Rocket fuel for the chronic soul."
I tried to pay such seemingly insignificant words no mind as I searched for unpaid bills and tiny keys to unlock aged keepsakes. There were bonds purchased for christenings and empty birthday cards with my name scribbled beneath the the fine print in lock boxes. I collected what meaning I could, taking multiple trips to offices and Goodwill, trying to decipher what it meant for such a man to be living, and deteriorating in that house for longer than necessary.
However, my questions remained pleasantly unanswered as I called off work for five days straight before deciding it wasn't worth the effort of dialing anymore. I lounged in the remaining filth, finishing off the last sips of bottles before lazily buying my own. I took staggered walks around town, watching a fresh generation of fuck-ups rewind and replay the same games in slow motion. I listened to scratchy vinyl and sorted letters to random faces that I had either met once and forgotten about, or who my father had saved me the pain and anguish of an introduction to.
I cleaned up messes before crafting my own. I closed blinds and lied to my mother, before turning my cellphone off completely. Fears of cancer and coughs filled my mind as I tried to decipher any sense of logical closure or composure from an individually placed list of material objects that offered little insights into the previous six years in both our lives.
It was on a Sunday when Yancy called me with the name of a realtor and some final paperwork. I told him to keep the business card of the bloodsucker safe and away from me. I would be staying indefinitely.