When I was young, my father used to hold me and dance to Stepan Grapelli’s Ebb Tide. It’s on his Satin Doll album. He would never understand why I am doing what I’m doing or acting the way I’m acting. But, it’s not in him being around and in being able to understand what I feel right now. Its in me knowing, that he wouldn’t be able to look past these things on the surface, but in how I know our two spirits truly bonded right here and right now. He was a poet and deserved so much more credit than he could ever truly be comfortable with giving himself.
I don’t know if its a memory or something I’m fabricating, but I remember one of these time he held me and we danced. It was later in the afternoon on some unremarkable weekday. Him and I were alone in the apartment where my mother still lives. My room was in the middle, meaning you had to walk through my bedroom to get to theirs or the living room. It had a small window, up high in the wall. It looked out onto the roof of the garages next door. The buildings were side by side and I vaguely remember laying there in a high bed I had as a kid, staring out. I could see all kinds of wonderful things from there, the sun, the sky. The rain, especially when it would pool up in puddles on the light gray, almost white sunbleached tar paper.
I was bigger at the time, but he picked me up and I put my shoulder on his head. I believe the song played on my Fisher Price record player. The only record player I would ever own. It had an orange arm and plate, the center well was a brown plastic thing, with a lille orange knob on top for holding the record in place. The rest of it was maybe beige and brown. It was small and for children, but it worked and thats all that really matters. He would hold me and just sway to the song. I’m sure on whatever day this was, what he had to get me to do to dance like was was probably incredible. And i’m sure I laid against him begrudgingly, like us Colemans do everything. But right, now I am so glad I did. Because if I didn’t I would have never rember this song or the feeling of him. But I do and its something I will be eternally grateful for. The feeling of Les, which is so much more than he knew.
We swayed in the afternoon sun, in a small unremarkable room, in crowded Queens, on an unremarkable day. But, its one of the most beautiful, memories I believe I have. And it was the right day and time coupled with this song to create my own personal formula for time traveling. I can ride the beauiful and sad waves of Grapelli’s violin back to the sandy shores of my own timeline. I can stand in that room, watching a father and son truly bond. A bond forged between two romantic, wandering souls.
We weren’t friends for long, we didn’t share to much in common interests. I always thought he was corny and a pain in the ass, which he was, and in life I took him and his dramatic nature for granted, because I didn’t understand either one of us then. I’ve long been jealous of the relationships friend’s have with their fathers. You went places, you did things. Especially when your older. You can talk about life and love, whatever you want. I didn’t have that. He was to afraid of making sure I didn’t become him to be with him. Which I understand and would love to let him know it was not a moment wasted. We might not have had anything traditional or easy, but I can truly say now, he is exactly who he needed to be for me. Without him, I would never have truly learned anything about the human soul. I will never be able to put it into words because its something you have to feel. A true, once in a lifetime bond between you and the one who came before you. When you can look him in the eyes, no matter how crazy he made you, and say I understand you. I am grateful for you for however long one can be. I love you. Not just as a son loving his dad, but as one soul truly loving another on a cosmic level, like bonds were intended. Wherever you are, whenever you are, as one time traveling soul to another, I felt you more than ever last night and I feel you again tonight. I want you to know I am grateful for everything you did for me. I am grateful for who you were then and for who you are now. I will never stop missing you. I take you everywhere with me. Even to places you would be terrified to go, because you deserve to see the things and feel the things you were afraid too. And don’t worry you will never have to face them on your own. I’m right here with you, just like you’re right here with me. In some other time, in some other place I know you’re writing this letter to me. Good night and travel well, Les.