Today while driving home, I remembered that Halloween was my father's favorite holiday. He used to go hunting when he got off work and then he returned, always cutting it close enough to make me anxious, to take me trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. My costumes were always thrown together out of what was around: one year I was a punk rocker in my older sister's zip-front skirt and cropped top with my mom's leather coat and boots, another year I was a cop dressed in my father's police shirt, and yet another year I zipped myself inside his hunting costume. I'm not great at costumes, you see, but I used to try. It's been four years since I cut my father out of my life, and he's mentally gone from alcohol, but I miss that version of him and I miss that version of my childhood, when I wasn't aware he was half-lit (according to my mom), or even if I was, I didn't care. My newest tattoo, a bluebird, commemorates that childhood. But my first published essay, in PANK 9 in 2013, also commemorates that particular version of my childhood, the one in which I was so close to my father that I wanted to crawl inside of him. I've never posted scans before, but I'm going to post them now. "Soft" is a short essay and I hope you'll read it.

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