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By Irene Mason

If I could go back in time,
I’d go back to the days when I still had my dad.
We would use a flashlight in a dark room
to make finger puppets on the ceiling,
and he’d tell me stories about Indian Joe
running through the mud, and the rocks, and the sticks, and the blood
without complaint just to save the day.
My grandpa once told him the same stories.
He’d tell me about Mike and Ike,
the broken scissor-halves that looked alike.
I think I remember them swimming in the ocean
or did they walk on land?
My memory is foggy.
I’d go back to the days of him playing his ukulele
and singing “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
I’d relive him telling jokes and doing silly dances.
I’d tell him the truth that I was too stubborn to admit before:
His chili really did taste good.
I’d pay closer attention to his features.
Were his eyes blue-gray or blue-green?
Were his fingers and toes like mine?
I’d ask him questions.
Did he have diabetes?
My mom and aunt give me two different answers.
When did he start smoking?
Who was his first kiss?
How was it caring for so many reptiles?
What was his first job as a teen?
I’d get to show him my high school essays again.
He was proud of my writing and bragged to friends and family.
I’d eat up the compliments and attention again.
I’d go back in time to May 11, 1993
and thank him for everything
and forgive him for anything.
I’d give him a hug and kiss
and say I’m sorry and I love you.
I’d say good-bye
and check the color of his eyes
one last time.

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