Sunday, January 18, 2009

Trying to Piece it Together

OK, I'm frustrated. I made an attempt to write last night when I got home, but nothing seemed to make sense. There's a lot on my mind, but I'm not sure how to get it out and on the page. What's a girl to do? Stream of consciousness it is.

I had a dream last night that crossed from past to present and back again. I was at my dad's lab, but I was with my New Haven friends. The lab looked the same as it did the last time I was there, which is to say it was kind of a mess. Stacks of newspapers under the counter, molds for teeth on the work tables and a fine dust covering everything. It was late at night, it was cold and there were people there waiting for a ride to the airport. One of my coworkers was in the space, and one of my interns, someone I hadn't seen in a long time. I remember hugging my intern and seeing the people off to the airport. That's all that comes to mind now.

I spent the bulk of my childhood at my dad's lab, doing homework, sweeping up and hanging out with my father and his friends and clients. It was close to the grammar and high schools, so it made sense for me to go there in the morning and have breakfast with him, then come back after classes to go home together. And it was where I waited the two hours between school and gymnastics practice. The TV was usually on, tuned to a Yankee game. If there wasn't a game on, then the radio was playing. My dad loved us, the Yankees and music.

I was there when the Challenger was lost and it was there that I ran after learning that one of my high school classmates had died. I remember my father hugging me and crying with me and telling me he understood how I felt. He was always the more emotional one of my parents, though my mother has softened some over the last few years. That was his place, the hub of his world. He spent more time there than he did at home, six or seven days a week, sometimes up to twelve hours a day, making dentures for every Cuban in town. I couldn't tell you if he loved the work, but I can tell you that he was good at it. He was so good that after he retired, he still made teeth for people, although now he was doing it out of my childhood bedroom. I wonder what all his clients thought of the hot pink walls and the Michael Jackson stickers.


Anonymous said...

These are the stories I like. These are the ones that I loved hearing back in New Haven, on a night after drinking, or while drinking.

Amy said...

This was good, Daisy. You got in your groove here and it shows.

Anonymous said...

As much of a mess as it was, it was the heart of all things Daddy! Bruce remembers being sent to the store for 8 packs of "2 sip Buds" late Friday nights & playing $20 worth of Lotto numbers. He never said a word when he got to the bodega, he just handed the guys the little paper with the numbers & they knew it was for Mingo. :*)

Arlene said...

Even I have memories of the lab. It was such a comforting place. Remember we used to go there after Algebra to have coffee and pastelitos. Your Dad was always smiling and working.

Love the writing. Keep it coming.