Chapter 16: Two weeks A.K.

I didn't do much with the contents of the manilla envelope; didn't do anything, in fact. Just took the thing, numb, shoved it into my top desk drawer, where things go to be forgotten. That was my intention, in a way. To watch passively as everything that tied me to him dissolved. I guess that's what we do with legacies of which we disapprove. Disassociate.

I guess Harold wasn't the worst guy, necessarily. He was just a stranger to me, I guess. I realize that that was my fault, not his. I never forgave him for abandoning my mother, for letting her die. I never forgave him for finding a substitute in a new woman, one with whom I have nothing in common. Maybe those were my problems, not his. People die. He's not god. What could he do? And as far as she's concerned, isn't he entitled to a little happiness? Do I expect him to mourn for the rest of his life?

The answer, of course, is yes, and I feel sort of tricked that he got out of it so effectively, by dying, I mean. Now I'm stuck with the responsibility of mourning them both, mourning two people I never really knew, two people that I am only now beginning to know. This realization, that it was on me, now, I mean, was sort of a pain, but at least it provided some kind of resolution. I started with my mother.

She was easy, once I found her journals, her life became, quite literally, an open book. Except there were parts I couldn't quite make out. Like she was using some kind of code or something. I tinkered with it for a while, but I was never good at that sort of thing. After a while, I decided to come back to it later. I had learned, I thought, enough-- that she loved us, that she wasn't angry about her sufferings, that she had a lot more inner peace than I've been able to muster. On to my father, then. I didn't start with the envelope, but I ended up there.

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