Rapid character sketch – Dad

February 2, 2009

Whenever he’s sitting down, he crosses one leg daintily over the other, an effeminate gesture that never ceases to embarrass me when he does it in public. He seems to disregard his lack of height when dressing so that the end result resembles a teenage would-be gangster — too-long denim shorts grazing the tops of his high black socks leading down to blindingly white tennis shoes, now two years old and frequently worn, but still as spotless as the day he brought them home from Costco. His laughter always sounded surprised, like he forgot his body could produce such a joyous expression.
In the summer, we would go boating on the lake. The boardshorts he wore were always a size too small, highlighting a small roll circling his midsection that otherwise wouldn’t be present. He had dark hair that, as a child, I would describe to friends as black, to which he would defensively assert, “It’s dark brown.”

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