Brylcreem

You got any hair gel I can borrow? he asks me.

Wtf? I don’t use hair gel, I retort. You know that.

My hair looks like shit, he says.

OK fine, I’ll see what I can do.

I shuffle to my Dad’s bathroom and find a still-full tub of Brylcreem hair gel, dandruff control. I stand there for a while, holding the tub in my hands. He will never dip his fingers into this tub ever again. Spread them over his head and start combing his hair sideways. Like they do in old Chinese movies. He had the same hair style, for all of 63 years. (I know, because I saw his photos when he was an adorable babe of 3. Same hair style y’all).

Well, I can’t grieve over a tub of Brylcreem.

Fast forward: a week later.

You got any hair gel? he asks me.

Wtf? I say. I gave you my Dad’s Brylcreem last week.

I don’t know where I put it, he says lamely.

I want to scream, fuck you. Where the fuck did you put it? I ask him, my eyes watery. I am angry. I don’t know why. It was my Dad’s Brylcreem, where the fuck did you put it after you used it? Did you take it home? Why couldn’t you have just used it, and leave it in the bathroom? It was my Dad’s! Where is it?!

This rage comes from nowhere. Or maybe a place deep inside my heart, where the pain, the anguish, still festers like an old wound, never to be healed.

He is confused. But he knows better than to say anything other than, OK, I’ll check in all the bathrooms.

I look at his retreating figure, momentarily sorry for my outburst.

It was my Dad’s Brylcreem. You’d better damn well find it. Who knows if Daddy needs it again someday?

I will keep everything the way it was when he left. His toothbrush is still in his little free-gift Darlie cup. His Protex soaps are still in the toiletries drawer- I used one of them a few days ago, even though I hate using soap- but I do it, because it makes me feel closer to him. His paper handkerchiefs and packets of tissue papers- he always did have a thing for tissue paper. I will never want for any tissue paper anymore.

And his Brylcreem. It’s right where it belongs now.