“Baby, I had a bad dream.” That’s what I’d say if I’d woken up and this was a dream, if this wasn’t reality and I hadn’t gotten a phone call at 6 AM from my mom telling me that my dad had died. Alex would probably say “Yeah? Tell me about it,” and I would recant every detail, how real it felt, and how glad I am to be awake. Then I’d call my dad and tell him what happened. No, I’d text him. He’d laugh and say “You miss me huh?” But I am awake and the phone call was real and this reality is pushing on the grey matter of my brain like a festering disease eating me alive. I can’t recall ever feeling so numb or so alive or feeling as though I understand nothing about how the world works. There is a dead space lingering within me. Was he scared, did he know, did he wish he could tell my mom he loved her one last time? What was the last thing he saw before slipping to that void between here and there? And more importantly, why G-d, why?
Lying in bed, I can only think about my dad a year from now and erase him from all the excited daydreams I had about my wedding. I take out the part where he gives me away, kisses my forehead (or some part of my head), smiles and cries a little. I erase the part where, for the father daughter dance, I tell the DJ to hit it and “The Power of Love,” by Huey Lewis and The News come blasting through the speakers and we jam. The perfect song for us, birth from hours of quoting our favorite movie, Back To The Future. And G-d how I wish I knew what words of wisdom he would have said when it was his turn to give Alex and I our toast. Then almost suddenly, I try to not to think about the grandkids he’ll never see, or the things he’ll never know, like how I just booked a Betty Crocker print ad, and just this week I had job interviews with Nick, NBC and Sony and did I mention I got into graduate school? Yeah, I’ve been waiting to tell you. I try not to think about it because breathing in what could have been is just as painful as trying to erase.
My dad was one of the few people who supported Rhonda The Actress, he never doubted my ability to succeed or told me I should reconsider my career choice. He backed my decision to enter production. Seriously, when I got my first job at Warner Brothers, my dad texted me “WB here we come!” “What do you mean we,” I said? It makes sense now, I wouldn’t be here (literally) if it weren’t for him.
We had a lot of fights my dad and me. We would go head to head, sometimes over big things, sometimes over little things and I wouldn’t be so foolish to say that it didn’t matter, because at the time it did and I would give anything to go head to head with him again. My dad is gone and it doesn’t feel real. Then again, is it supposed to? I woke up this morning at 6 AM, I woke up to a death and I wish, for once in my life, I wish, that I could go back sleep, wake up again and know that what is staring me in the face was just a nightmare and all is well. Oh how I wish and wish and wish… Yes, I wish.