Breakdown at the Bank

All I had to do was go to the bank.

That’s all. Go to the bank and open a joint savings account.
So I went.
I plopped down on the little couch area outside of the bank executives and waited. As I gazed around the bank I critiqued outfits and made observations. It was starting to snow outside. There was another lady ahead of me and we started up a conversation. We chatted about how it must be so difficult for older folks to keep up with all the technological changes these days, especially in the banking industry. All of the bank executives were busy handling elderly customers and I could see the frustration and compassion in their eyes. I couldn’t overhear much of their conversations, only random snippets. One lady was trying to explain “paperless” online statements to a couple. Another was softly telling a gentleman that he needed to bring in a death certificate in order for her to finish processing his request. This got my attention.
I glanced over my chair and into the clear plexiglass cube in which they were seated.
His back was facing me, but I could see he was wearing a navy fleece vest atop a flannel plaid shirt. He had on a hat that some call a “newsboy”, but what my Father called his “go to hell” hat. His short white hair peeked out from beneath. I couldn’t turn away. I strained to hear more of their conversation, but couldn’t.
I found myself somewhat obsessed with this gentleman. My eyes bored holes into the back of his head as I silently chanted, “turn around, turn around, just turn around and look at me“.
He rose to leave. He shook the hand of the bank executive. He then bent over to retrieve his cane and turned. He faced me.
I knew his wrinkled face and his vibrant blue eyes. I knew the gentle stoop of his walk.
I knew his rimless eyeglasses and the rumpled look of his flannel shirt. I knew his bemused smile as he gazed upon me.
It was my Daddy.
But it wasn’t.
I burst into tears. IN PUBLIC. Uncontrollable emotion lurched from me and it wasn’t pretty. I felt like I’d been hit with a baseball bat square in the stomach. What for a moment seemed like a unlikely sweet reunion became a silly delusional hallucination.
He was just a little old man in a bank and I somehow left leave of my senses and *thought* I had run into my deceased Father. Oops.
I ran from the bank into the sanctity of my Jeep. I thought I was going to hyperventilate. I watched my “Daddy” slowly shuffle to his car and drive away. I had actually beat him out of the bank in my full-on freak out. I got myself under control fairly quickly, yet it was so unexpected. So raw. So weird.
It was unexpected and weird because if I’m going to run into my dead Father, surely it will be in bar somewhere.
It was raw because after almost 3.5 years, I still can’t believe how much I miss him.
Does it ever go away?
I hope not.

4 thoughts on “Breakdown at the Bank

  1. Roger says:

    No sweetheart, hopefully it never goes away. The images, memories, hopes and disappointments… all are an everlasting part of Dad that will FOREVER touch you, bring sobs and tears, giggles and smiles… he is still going to be an everlasting influence on your life, in your heart, and even within your new family. You really wouldn't want it any other way, would you?I love you…

  2. Jen, My Dad sure wasn't Dad of the year…… I miss his voice. I miss him.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I dream about your aunt B's house 3-4 times a year and often want to call her until I remember she's not there. I even went so far as to call 3 real estate agents to buy the house, which is now in foreclosure (if you're interested in an awesome bargain so you don't have to stay in the C. Inn when you visit.) Also, I once saw someone who looked exactly my dead father and yeah, it's pretty weird. Hug. Your dad's book is in our school library. 🙂

  4. julia says:

    Wow Jen. You brought tears to my eyes just reading this. As always, you are an amazing writer… um – author really. I can't imagine what you went through and are still going though. It really terrifies me to think about not having one of my parents not around anymore.

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