Fatherhood of God
Writer Augusten Burroughs writes in his new book, about growing up with his distant, neglectful father. One part, in particular, was so raw as to make me almost cringe as I read it.
Burroughs writes about how, as a 7 year-old child, he realized that whenever he’d try to crawl in his father’s lap, his dad would push him away. He writes that his father wouldn’t even look at the boy as he stared straight ahead at the television screen. The little boy kept a scorecard on a clipboard of how many times his father refused to cuddle with him, and it was close to 100 percent of the times attempted.
Hungering for his father’s presence, the boy took one of his father’s shirts and a pair of pants from his parents’ closet, stuffed the clothes with towels and pillows, and lathered it with his father’s cologne. At night, he would snuggle up against this father mannequin, pretending to be held and loved. He writes that one day his mother found the dummy, and simply returned the clothes to the closet, the pillows to the bed. Burroughs concludes: “Over time, my father’s scents faded from the pillows until there was nothing left of him at all.”
The Wolf At the Table: A Memoir of My Father,