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Daddy Issue 2

by Joe Nasta 3 months ago in Series · updated 2 months ago
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Re: Do you even remember?

Daddy Issue 2
Photo by Hari Panicker on Unsplash

To: [email protected]

From: [email protected]

Re: Do you even remember?

04 July 2022

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Father,

I despise you. I stepped away from our red picnic blanket even though the fireworks are about to start because I had the most annoying memory I needed to tell you about. Do you even remember the last Fourth of July before mom died? I bet you don’t ever think of her at all now that you reinvented yourself. Taylor Swift was playing and the neighbors made a fruit Sangria, back when we lived in a ranch house in Suffolk County, I still went to public school, and you associated with anyone you wanted without the approval of your new wife.

I have watermelon pulp stuck in my teeth. There’s nowhere to be alone amongst the patchworks of different friend groups and their low hum of chatter and laughs; everybody’s clearly having a great time. Me too, which is why I was so startled when “Our Song” came on the speaker – unfortunately, I do have good memories of you but I don’t know what to do with them. Steam hissed off the white concrete of the driveway at the corner, where all the families gathered at dusk. The kids ran with sparklers popping and bursting onto the asphalt and the adults drank and gossiped by the garage door. I preferred to sit on the grass and listen to everything all at once when I was nine years old, always watching although not paying particularly close attention. Ha, people really don’t change.

The first firework just went off from the barge by Brooklyn Bridge but I don’t even care to watch. You came over and let me taste your sangria and gave me a hunk of soaked strawberry from the plastic red cup. Your fingers pinched, dipped just under the purple liquid, and lifted the seedflesh to my puckered lips. First, the texture of the coarse strings of fruit. Then, the sweet. I winced at the bitter edge and mom threw her head backwards as she made that deep laugh that caught in the air and her wavy brown hair. “Don’t give him any more of that!” The light above the garage door clicked on its timer and her pale face glowed. I laid back in the grass and closed my eyes.

I keep looking up at the sky: I lied. I do want to watch the bursts. I’m glad I’m by myself again, I really am. Being with people is too difficult to navigate. Is that how you feel, too? It makes me sad that I know almost nothing about you, really. Are you watching the fireworks with your new family? You’re probably not even in the city this weekend, having escaped to the house in the Hamptons or maybe even down to the Shore. I imagine you, your wife, and your child are watching the same fiery show as me, even though I know you’re not. Are you thinking about me at all? I hope your phone lights up with an instant notification when I send this and it ruins your night.

That’s all for now because the show is starting to speed up, each spark reflecting off the water and the faces of the crowd. I don’t only think bad things. I do remember when things were alright. Do you? I’m going back to my friends. I'll hit send just in time for the finale.

Go to Hell,

Jay

*Note: This is a work of fiction. Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents in this Vocal series are either the product of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Read Daddy Issue 1 here

Read Daddy Issue 3 here

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About the author

Joe Nasta

Hi! I'm Joe (ze/zir), a queer multimodal artist and writer. I work in Seattle & I write love poems.

@roflcoptermcgee on Instagram

@joenasta on TikTok

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