We opened the drawers of his life and peeked in.
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by Kathryn Santana Goldman
My father was a private man. When he died, my mother and I were hesitant
to clear out his closet, nightstand, desk. As cautious custodians, we opened
the drawers of his life and peeked in. Carefully unfolding
hidden years under t-shirts and socks. A Cuban cigar box housed
a toy taxi, a gnarled golf pencil, a rusted protractor,
his grammar school graduation certificate, a picture of
my grandfather who died when dad was 12, a lock of my baby hair.
On the bottom, a yellowed envelope revealed images of foreign
people and places. Merchant Marine stations without longitude or latitude.
Silent black and white faces harboring untold tales. A handsome
Mexican man, he stands next to a petite Japanese woman in an ornate
kimono. Tokyo, 1947, written in Dad’s cursive on the back. I rescued
his burgundy sweater from the Goodwill pile, the last one I gave him
for Christmas. Old Spice lingered on the collar, a crumpled handkerchief
lined a pocket. Elbow patches now cover the holes to keep it from unraveling.
Like his life, it bears scars I will never understand. Wearing it,
I listen for his whisper to identify the blond woman,
wearing a bathing suit, somewhere on a beach.
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