by Jessica Lynne Henkle

When your father dies, you feel him judging you whenever you wash your car. “If you want it done your way,” you tell him, “then you shouldn’t have died.” You can just see the look he would’ve given you. Add this to the list of things you’ve learned since his death: people don’t seem to like your family’s morbid sense of humor. Two days after he died, the battery in his most beloved car died, too. “Dad took the Acura with him,” your mother said, and only she, you, and your brother found this amusing. The way no one else laughed when you joked about forgoing an urn and instead putting his ashes in the coffee can he used to store nails. It’s like this, though. The words just come tripping from your mouths sometimes because you can’t take one more second of being so damn sad. When you and your brother picked up your father’s ashes from the mortuary, he set them behind the driver’s seat. “Who gets to ride in the backseat now?” he said. “Don’t put Dad on the floor,” you scolded. “Give him to me.” And he did, and you held your father in both hands, heavy on your lap the whole way home.


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