Monday, January 30, 2012
I went to see Hugo today with my kid. She is recovering from the flu and we needed to escape from the excavation of our basement. Maybe there are bodies down there, I wouldn't be surprised. Why do they kill parents? They love to kill parents. It seems that a kid can't be a hero unless they are orphaned.
I met a guy recently. He likes to take photographs. I dislike having my picture taken. It is like my face is trying to escape the scrutiny. He had lights on me and was obscured behind a lens. Then he started to ask me things. He asked me about my dad and I found myself at a loss. I wanted to tell him something. He seemed like the right person to tell things to, but I was blocked, I was thinking, all girls have daddy issues.
My father was a photographer. He was also unhinged. He had been a brilliant PHD student, destined for academic stardom, but he got sidetracked. Sidetracked by a Leica and a collective of New Mexican hippies, acid, Buddhism and a wanderlust. My mother and he had a very different relationship, I think, although it is all conjecture. She doesn't talk about it. She would if I asked, but I seem to know not to. He would wander and she would sometimes follow and sometimes not.I know he must have had girlfriends, I can see it in the eyes of one of his photo subjects.
Eventually she moved to Montreal from New York City and had me. My sister was already 3. We lived in Outremont, next door to a houseful of kids called the Rings. My father came to visit sometimes, until he had a psychotic break and was carted off to the local crazy house after leaping on my mum. My sister, 5 or 6 at the time, ran to the Rings for help. After that he went back to NYC where he continued to take photos of crumbling garbage heaps and dilapidated signage. I don't have any memories of him. The only one I can recall is looking out the window at the rain spattered glass while my mum told us that he had died. He fell out of a window she said. I was 4 and she says I cried. I don't remember. I just recall the view, obscured by those plastic decals of triangles and squares and circles that you could stick and remove and make houses out of.
New York's finest were thieves back then, and they stole his cameras. They left the prints though, and I have them. They are my only evidence. I can see his humor, his intelligence and his complicated view. There was interest a couple years back and a gallery contacted me so they could mount a show. They did and through that I got in contact with a woman who was one of his closest friends. She sent me the story of his death, because she had been there. By now I knew he did not fall. The story was heart wrenching. He did not die right away. She found him, three stories down on the ground, and in the ambulance he was telling her it was alright, he was going where he wanted. She thought he was going to survive.
I thought about the pain this must have caused her. She knew something was wrong some days before, but hippies like to let people be. They don't question the weird. Strangely enough, I don't either. Sometimes I feel that I should feel more. Some kind of loss, some kind of deep pain. That I should be broken somehow, as orphans often are. I am not. I had family and love and I was young. I don't miss him. There is no hole.
I like this photographer, and I also have a weakness for academics, it seems. My daddy issues must be there somewhere, like it is for most girls. I come to the end of this post feeling much the same way i did when I was questioned under the lights. Thinking that I am trying to say something, but not sure what it is.