My absent father wanted to speak to me, maybe meet up, and I… I could barely stand to think about reconnecting or whatever.
“I can’t deal with a nightmare from my past right now” I told my mother.
She laughed at me. “You’re so dramatic. That’s a bright side, huh? You won’t even have to come out to your dad, just say that.”
“Ugh,” I groaned. “Shut up.” Drinking and denial were better than drudging up the past. This conversation was proof. Shit.
“I’m just asking,” she said gently. “It’s your decision.” She was using a weird kind tone I didn’t like. Mom typically took the tough love approach with me these days. Her parenting advice normally involved stern words and phrases like ‘stop being a dumbass’ and ‘make smart decisions because I’m not paying for bail.’
“What would we even talk about?” Dad and I hadn’t had anything in common, something he worried about often. I wasn’t a ‘normal boy’ who’d liked sports and bugs and whatever normal boys were supposed to like. “Maybe dad and I will just hug and go play catch?” I quipped. Oh god, what if he really did want to play catch? He didn’t hide his disappointment at my inability to play sports very well when I was younger, but I was stronger now.
Mom thought about it. “Maybe you could guilt him into buying you beer.”
I laughed. “Tempting.”
She walked to stand in front of me. “I’ve got to go to work.” She bent down and kissed my forehead. I scowled as she smiled back at me. “Make good decisions, dumbass.”
Excerpt from What Love Means