Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Word-a-day Writing Challenge

Day Thirty-Seven: Infestation

My father was a cabinet maker, among other things. Woodworking was his vocation, his purpose. He built tables and chairs, chests and chiffoniers, bureaus and buffets. It seemed to me, he built everything. Before he died, he made a set of wooden benches for the museum in Saint John, and in the following years, when his absence overtook our house like an infestation, I went, on foggy summer mornings, to sit for hours on those benches—staring into wildlife exhibits and colonial re-creations—and to run my fingers over the tight, oaky grain. I wanted to be close to something, you see, to understand it, to point at something tangible and say, This is my father; I come from this. I wanted to absorb the solace of their gentle edges, the symmetry, and gaze into the grey-white glare of the harbour—it's dense emptiness, it's inscrutable answers.

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