It was 3 days after I heard the prognosis before I talked to my dad. Mom and I had spoken on the phone a couple of times by then, and I had some good excuses all set up in my head for focusing on her instead.
“I’m sure Dad is tired,” for instance. Or, “Well, Mom said he’s got a lot of visitors right now. I don’t want to overload him.” Or, “What the fuck am I supposed to say?”
Actually, that last one was pretty close to accurate. The thing is, really, that I don’t really talk to Dad about big things very much. We talk, most of the time, about business, or how their rental property is doing, or something ridiculous that happened in our neightborhood in Chicago. On occasion our conversation will veer into more intimate topics, and we both welcome that, but it never seems like neither of us is actively looking to initiate that shift.
It’s not that we have a poor relationship. After a few rough years where I was an adolescent asshole (and a post-adolescent asshole), we’ve been pretty close. Close, but not intimate. So what do you talk about, with someone with whom you are close but not intimate, when one of the most intimate things possible is actively happening to them?
If you are me, you talk about the weather.
Yep, the weather.
Boy it sure is beautiful this weekend isn’t it and wasn’t that snow crazy a couple of weeks back and at the beginning of spring too, hah it sure didn’t feel like Spring, did it? Oh and you won’t believe this but our garage was broken into AGAIN and our lawnmower was stolen for the second time and you know it’s crazy how much I like mowing the yard here which is a good thing I guess since I’m sure not saving any money doing it myself if I have to replace my mower every year. Well it sounds like you have a busy night ahead of you so I should let you go I love you and I’ll call again soon.
Next time I think I need notes to have a real conversation with my father. Maybe something like, “What do you need from me? You know I’ll drop anything I can for you, right? I’ge got your back, Dad, whatever you need.”
Oh, and how about that weather, eh?