The Torn Screen


When you’ve lost someone you love, memories of them can sneak up on you in the oddest ways.

Friday I was walking behind our building on my way to pick Brady up from camp. There’s construction going on (have I mentioned that?) and I was under the scaffolding. I turned my head and something caught my eye. It was a tear in the screening wrapping the scaffolding. The tear was rectangular and around the edges the screen had wrapped in on itself and frayed a bit.

Suddenly my heart was pierced by a shard of pain, sharp and sudden. I had memories of a tear in the screen-door on the back porch of the house I grew up in. I could almost feel the sharp, frayed metal on my fingers as I rubbed them around the rolled up edges of the torn screen. I remembered kneeling on the porch next to my father, holding the rubberized handles of a pair of pliers, ready to hand them over to him as he removed the damaged screening from the door. Could hear the loud “pop, pop” of the staple gun as he secured the new piece in place.

Memories tumbled through my mind. The sound of the door snapping shut as we carried food out to eat dinner in the yard, the smell of the grill, my father calling to me to bring something else. The semi-annual changing of the door, me my father’s assistant each time, making sure we would be safe and warm or breezy and cool. Looking through the glass, winter door past the plastic decal of a cardinal, to see my dad stepping onto the porch in the snow, his transition lenses dark from the brightness.

I sometimes wonder how I can go so long without thinking of my dad. He’s always somewhere in my mind, hovering beneath the surface, a tiny part of everything I do. But every once in awhile something just pulls me right into a part of my life with him in it that throws me off balance. I’m thankful for reminders like this, thankful for the loss I feel when they present themselves so unexpectedly. It assures me that my dad is still very much there, no matter how long he’s been gone.

I borrowed the above photo from Daydid Specialties. Apparently, they fix screen doors. 

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