My father has been dead for more than half my life now. But the thought of him outside my door can still strike terror into me.
I've long since forgiven him. Learned to admire and love the things that were good about him. I've tried to understand the forces that made him what he was; the demons he fought and often lost to. I accept that he was the best man he could figure out how to be with the tools he had. But give me the momentary illusion that he is somehow for the first time in 25 years standing outside my door and all that goes out the window. And only the fear remains.
I thought I was over this. I distinctly remember the last time it happened: One day in the early '90s I was walking between Harvard and Central, when suddenly there was an old white pickup like he used to drive coming down Mass Ave toward me. I was looking for a shadow to hide in before I knew why.
It wasn't that I was over it: it was that there aren't any late '60s white Dodge pickups on the road anymore. And I hadn't happened to live in the same building as someone with the same gait as his.