Well I promised myself that I would write you a letter every year on your birthday (which I did) and on my birthday– you know, just to “reevaluate the situation.”
This is my first birthday without you. I am not looking forward to it. I always get “weird” (read: weirder) on my birthday, every year, without fail. I always have a good cry. A sad cry, not a happy cry. A mini-breakdown. I fucking hate birthdays. I hate this. I don’t want to have a birthday. Can’t I just not have one?
For the past 10 years, the most important thing about my birthday was always having a drink with you. I always have evening plans with friends but I wouldn’t do anything until I’d seen you and had a drink (or six) with you.
I will still do that this year. I will pour two glasses of Southern Comfort out. You will tell me that my hair is getting greyer by the day and I will tell you that my knees are falling apart. You will tell me how proud you are of me. You will give me a funny card and wave to me as I go off to meet my mates. And you will worry about me until the following day when I tell you that I’m home safe after my night on the tiles but I’m severely hungover and “never drinking again.”
But, this year, you’re going to have to do something to show me that you’re here with me: knock a pile of my books over or slam the window shut or fling a chair across the room. I don’t know. Be creative! :)
Your friends in the pub, “the old boys”, have insisted that I come into the battle cruiser and have a drink with them, as I would’ve done with you. We will sit at your table and I will sit in your chair and I will try not to cry. I might go into the Ladies and have a little cry until some motherly drunk bird gives me a hug and fixes my makeup for me, or I might go outside in the smoking area and have my traditional mini-breakdown and then wear sunglasses for the rest of the day.
Then I’m going out in Stokey. I think I want to go out in Stokey because I never went to that area with you, you never lived or worked there, and nobody really knows us there so I won’t bump into anyone who’ll ask me how you’re doing. There’s no memories for me there, so there’s room for me to create new ones. (I am going via Fins though).
I found the birthday card that you gave me last year. I suppose I kept it because I feared that it would be the last one. Which it was. Which it is. In the card you describe me as ‘honorificabilitudinitatibus‘ and I remember that the weather was really warm last year and I was all flustered from all the attention + a panic attack so I used the card to fan my face and told everyone that that card was the best present ever.
The card/fan has 2 meerkats on it, hugging, exactly as we would hug when you were in pain and couldn’t get up and I would put my arms around your neck and rest my chin on your head. Oh God, I just burst into tears writing that, my fake tan is going to go all streaky. I can hear you laughing and calling me “soppy bollocks.”
I am going to carry that card around in my bag today so I can read it and pretend that you gave it to me this year. Anything to get me through this day.
Your judgement day was on your 40th birthday. You managed to live for an extra 27, almost 28 years after your judgement day. And I am so glad you did. It seems extraordinary when I put it like that. An extra 28 years. But you are extraordinary. You were. You are extraordinary. My judgement day is on my 25th birthday. So now I have exactly one year left to live until my judgement day. I will try to live it thoroughly but some days I can’t get out of bed or think or breathe or move. But you understand all this, you understand. We’ve discussed this. I know.
Dad I miss you so unbearably much. I’m so sick and I’m so frightened, but in some moments I am alive. These moments are powerful but they are moments nonetheless. Fleeting and forgettable.
I just hope you’re okay Pops, wherever you are. I always look for you. I look for you everywhere. I look for you in books and movies and songs, in the city skyline, in the cracks in the pavement, in adverts on the bus, in the knots of my hair, in the moon, in my cereal. I have stared at this photograph so many times I’m surprised the image hasn’t worn away. I just need to know that you’re okay. Where are you?
I will always look for you everywhere. I will never stop looking for you.
I love you Daddy Cool ❤
P.S. I was in the Black Horse the other night and they were playing Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts – I know that you put that song on to tell me you were there so thank you. Twas duly noted.
P.P.S. If you’re going to do something ghostly to my flat to make your presence known, instead of chucking my books around could you possibly wash the dishes that are in the kitchen sink? Ta!
P.P.P.S. I understand that you’re dead now but if you could resurrect yourself any time on Sunday, as is the fashion, that’d be great.
See, I always keep my promises:
Cheers, old man!