All of a sudden, there is a burst of music. It’s less an unwelcome intruder and more an unexpected friend. The noise, pushing against the interlaced ossifications of my skull and, in a final effort, managing to break through and fall against grey matter and into my wholly satisfied arms, a lover who always leaves me first. I am a citadel of fixed proportions. I am a citadel, but sound never has to put up very long of a siege.
It’s Kishore Kumar. This means my father, but it also means something else. I find him in the office, sitting as neatly as one possibly can, hands folded like a schoolboy, back wide and rigid as though it were it were not the chair that was supporting his temporary leave from gravity but his own faulty body. I feel like finding every photograph I have of him and laminating them. He is wearing his new headphones, ones I recall cutting out of a hard plastic box with safety scissors. He’s plugged them into the wrong jack without realizing it, he doesn’t realize because he is completely deaf in one ear, he is smiling. In the next few seconds, I will grab his skinny arm and laugh at him, my ancient baby father. I will point out the right socket.
I think about mistakes, often. I like to address two parts of myself: a maker of mistakes and a corrector of them. I like to hear them fight it out in a trial where my two hands in sock puppets are LAW and ORDER, and then I like to play executioner. Here’s to shoving them both out of windows. I like watching a face evolve, and I think of the way mine did, when I made that breach between a moment where I thought I was fine and a moment where I knew I wasn’t, where time had stepped in and taken away my role as executioner. It’s a small mistake, not putting something in the right place, and why does it take something as silly as this for me to relate and fluctuate and detonate. And why did all those word rhyme, I didn’t want them to. There’s still Kishore Kumar all over the place. There’s still my father smiling. So I take a step forward.