"When you were here before,
Couldn't look you in the eye,
You're just like an angel,
Your skin makes me cry,
You float like a feather,
In a beautiful world,
And I wish I was special,
You're so fuckin' special."
My father used to play this song full blast over and over again when I was young. The bass would rattle every rickety bone in our house and we’d belt out the lyrics with fierce passion albeit ill-equipped voices. He owned every version and remix ever released of Radiohead's, Creep. Why? Because, well, that was his style. When he loved something, he loved it hard. Obsessively. To the point of no return. He taught me to do the same.
I held my father's hand when he took his last breath on June 17th, 2019, the day of the Strawberry Moon. 2 weeks before he was due to deliver his final manuscript to his publisher. It was to be his 5th published book.
I remember once hearing the quote, “People who fit don’t seek.” I would describe my father as a brilliant seeker. As soon as he began to feel comfortable somewhere or begin to earn a sense of belonging, that was his cue to stir the waters or simply exit the building. A self inflicted outsider. A rebel with many causes, he was never about conforming or ‘fitting in’. He was a man on the run from expectation and ordinariness. An avid reader, researcher, writer and music lover. He had an intense, impenetrable way about him. Intimidatingly endearing. Enigmatic.
I now find my calm meandering around used book stores. I now take pleasure in reading and rereading his life’s work. Finding truce in his words. His voice. Re-watching the movies he once introduced to me, and now introducing them to my own children. I now take pride in recognising my father in my two sons, and in myself.
I realise more and more everyday that I am who I am because he was who he was. The good, the bad and the arcane. Wrapped imperfectly inside a girl forever on a mission to impress her father. Learning now how to continue this mission in his absence. Perhaps my hardest challenge to date.
Now and forever my Strawberry Moon.