There are times when I stop living and doing whatever I’m doing and start imagining what is the image my daughter has of me. The closest thing that comes to my mind is the character of Bing-Bong in Inside Out. He is silly, clumsy, always there to help, always with an eejit smile on his big face. You seldom see him crying and when he does he cries candies. A perfect companion for a baby, and a child. I suppose in her early days Alicia would have seen me like Bing-Bong: coming to visit every now and then, always happy (overhappy most of the time) to see her, always there when it was time to play and be silly in order to get a smile or a laugh out of her.
And I supposed until Alicia grew up a bit she might as well have thought I was a product of her imagination. I wasn’t there all the time like normal dads would, but I was there for birthdays, a couple of times out of kindergarten, most of the time in mummy or granny’s house and a few times in outings.
Since the day our love had to be crushed, there are times – and are quite frequent depending on the season – when I find myself drifting around long term memory unknown to or forgotten by most of the people who are presently part of Alicia’s world; I wander collecting happy memories I cherish, only to put them into my bottomless bag. I greatly miss the times I shared with Alicia and am desperate to not be forgotten. Then one night auntie M. calls me to tell me what happened. I am in the Memory Dump right now and the line is very disturbed as if calling from a very remote phone. Auntie M cries and weeps and says, come Bing-Bong, come and take Alicia away with you! Please! Take her away from this dysfunctional family, please, I do not want to have to go to her funeral in two years time!
Bing-Bong’s confused. Inside it hurts a lot and he does not have any candy left to cry. He just sits there staring at his switched-off telly holding his bottomless bag tight to his chest. Who wants to play? Who remembers Bing-Bong? Who needs him anymore? Bing-Bong gets his rocket straight away and flies over to Ireland even though there is very little fuel left in it and raising up from those dark depths ain’t no easy at all. But Bing-Bong can make it and so he takes time off from work and organises and takes his bottomles bag with him and all the joy and all the hurt that comes with it and up he flies, aiming at the moon.
When I disappear abruptly from my daily life and occupation I like to come here in the total darkness of the Memory Dump. This is where breath slowly, take out happy memories from the bag and, watch them as you watch old snapshots and pretend I’m there with Alicia, still playing or jumping on her trampoline, herself still a four or five years old smiling and giggling at me. It’s them thing we non-existing fathers do. While crying candies.