My earliest memory of him had to do with the surface tension of water. I would have been about 7 or 8 years old, I think. I wondered how water bugs did it, so he demonstrated surface tension with a glass of tap water. Later, he taught me how to ride a bike. Much later, he also taught me how to shoot a gun, how to fish, how to dowse for water or for minerals, how to use a compass and topographic map, and what magic was. He built a cloudbuster in our backyard, and it worked. He can build anything. He’s a genius and an artist.

He drinks too much, smokes too much, has a foul temper and a cruel streak, and he never once told me he loved me or gave me a hug. He’s dying, and my feelings about this are so complicated that I can hardly stand to think about it. He is not my dad, but then, my biological father isn’t, either. I wasn’t actually issued a father in this incarnation. I feel like he and I have unfinished business, but I don’t know what it is. A tearful goodbye just seems like it would be tacky and embarrassing, and neither of us are the kind of people who do that sort of thing. I think I get that from him. It will probably be more like, “So long, it’s been good to know you,” and then I’ll sort my feelings out on my own. Like I always do.

Kay posted this video a while back, before I knew he was dying, and it reminded me of him, so here it is again.

Kate Bush Cloudbusting

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