Redbone

Childish Gambino

I often find myself staring these days. Staring outside. Staring at a wall. Staring at utterly nothing. Maybe it’s because all the thoughts racing around makes me too exhausted to do anything else. So I often sit there, looking too stupid.

Look, let’s be honest. It’s pretty amazing how everything in life happens in waves. Like it’s never only one thing that goes down – it just HAS TO BE fifteen things. And each one of them includes a fucked up shit sandwich. Pair that with overthinking and raging hormones (err…probably should change birth controls soon), and you get one hell of a SOS for Zoloft or Lipitor. Luckily, I’m too poor for medication. Or drugs. I’m sure it’s for the best. So I tend to drink, rather often it may seem. It’s actually super easy to tell how the day/week progressed by what’s in front of me. Beer is, “Yaaaas. Chill time. Beer, pretzels, nom nom nom. Early bedtime. Adulting.” Wine is, “Mentally checking out, nothing exists, excuse me while I finish this entire bottle by myself with no pants on.” Bourbon is, “CODE RED. FUCK YOU, FUCK ME, FUCK EVERYTHING. NEVER GOING HOME. FOREVER LIVING IN THIS BAR.” Actually, that latter detail is probably double bourbon. Bourbon just tastes good.

After the last fight with my parents, back in June, it took me a good few months to accept the fact that our relationship would never be fixed. They just have such a hard time accepting the person I grew up to be. Their one and only child was supposed to be wildly successful, join the military, be an officer, have ridiculous amounts of awards, own a suburban house, never meet a man until 35+, always keep the grass stupid green at an inch and a half long. And here, at almost 27 years old, I have achieved nothing on their checklist, and they have disowned me like a flaming hot turd. They objectively surveyed my life, scrutinized every “bad decision” I’ve ever made and reached the conclusion that I, in no way, measured up to all the effort they put into me when I was younger. But hey, after months of tears and bitching, I’ve accepted the fact of having zero parent-interaction. I know they did what they could, and did what they thought was best.  But at the end of the day, I can never make them happy. Not genuinely anyway. So. I put it all to rest.

Then, here comes last Monday. Received a text, looked down at my phone and it was my father saying he wanted to talk. ” Michelle. We need to talk as Father and Daughter. When would be a good time to call you today?” I loved how he capitalized our unfortunate relations. He called, we talked. I immediately noticed how he called me at work, away from mom. “She wanted me to call and yell at you, but I didn’t think that would work since you don’t listen anyway.” Ah, see that you’ve picked up her passive-aggressiveness. I already could tell it wouldn’t end well, but I was still curious. We eventually agreed on him meeting me at my house a few days later. It took a minute for him to find the place, apparently I don’t look like the townhouse-in-Grandview type. But he parked in the back and lingered around the car for a minute. We were both painfully uncomfortable. “So, Dad. Would you like to come inside?” He looked around and said okay, since it was too cold to talk outside anyway. We eventually sat on the couch, Daisy was beyond excited to see him since he was a familiar face. “Mom was worried you got rid of the dog since you wouldn’t be able to take care of her. But. Wow, she’s still here.” No fucking shit. She’s my baby. Fast-forward through some chit-chat, he took a green piece of paper out of his jacket – I could only imagine what was on there. Actually, I wished I could imagine what was on there, but I was bracing myself for an unforeseen curveball. “Your mother had me write down questions she wanted me to ask you. Now, she wanted an interrogative type of exchange, but I figured a normal conversation would work better for us.” I looked at the paper, there were at least 25 questions listed on there.

Where were you heading in life? What are your future goals? Did you like being one paycheck away from being homeless? Why aren’t you giving the military another shot? Do you honestly like where you are? Do you realize you’re throwing everything away? Why aren’t you admitting to yourself why you really moved away from us?”

He wasn’t wrong to ask. But it was very business-like. Almost closer to an interview than a father-daughter talk. But what did I expect? We haven’t spoken in almost a year. Of course it wouldn’t be a normal heartfelt, how-are-you-I’m-doing-fine thing. After he asked all the questions he needed to, we kind of just sat there. “Your Mom actually wanted me to write down your answers but there’s really no room on the paper.” Fucking hell. Okay. I asked him if he was hungry. He said not really, We then agreed on grabbing coffee. I walked him to a coffee shop down the street. He seemed to like the coffee choices that they had. I stuck with plain black. After sitting, I noticed that he kept looking at his phone. Like he was waiting for a text or call or a leash to real him back in. “Your mom wanted me to text her saying when I got here but I forgot so I just did it. She hasn’t replied yet. I’m sure she’s up by now. But she said she was going to dye her hair today, so maybe she’s busy doing that.” He looked a little nervous – I actually felt sorry for this man. Now I could clearly see how tightly wound up she had him. He kept checking his phone like every 3 seconds. However, we eventually fell into a normal chatter, talking about his job, his fellow co-workers, my job, Daniel. I felt it for a brief span of time – it was like the real him was back. I again asked if he was hungry – he said he could eat. So we walked to a comfort food kind of place that he seemed to really enjoy. Then he said it, something finally with heart in it. “Listen, Michelle. It is really good to see you, I should’ve done this sooner. You, your mom, and I shouldn’t end up like the rest of our family. Let’s not do that. Just try with your mom, she’ll come around.” I could see a tear glimmer in his eye. It got me. From that point, I told myself I would talk to mom. At least for his sake.

So. You’d imagine us piecing our broken relationship back together, and eventually heading towards some sense of harmony right? Wrong. Wrong as fuck.

The next day Mom calls me and starts yelling. Like, back the hell up. We haven’t talked at all and you’re going to just yodel those lungs first. I stopped her – the last thing I wanted to do was say something I’d regret. “Mom, I need a minute. Dad was just here yesterday and I need time to process. I call you back tomorrow okay.” Screaming. “If you hang up, don’t ever call me or us again! We either talk now or never again!” I assured her I would call her back tomorrow, I just needed time. “No, you will never call! You say that, but you don’t mean it!” Finally, we both hung up. I asked Daniel if I did the right thing asking for time, since he was sitting right there next to me, listening to the whole spectacle. “You did babe. You don’t want to say something you don’t mean.”

Anyway. I told Dad about the phone call. He said my mother wanted to drive up either that night or the next day to see me. Because apparently they’re aiming for overkill. Or at least she was.

“I can’t be in the middle. You are my daughter nonetheless. Your life is stuck barely hanging on. We are very concerned where you are going at 30.”

More texts. More messages in caps. The eventual, “We do not agree with your lifestyle.” And, “You must respect us, our feelings, for us to respect you.” And the final, “Sadly, what you believe is a lie.”

I called Mom the next day, no answer. Called again, phone was shut off. And that was it.

Like I said, waves of shitballs. But, it will all balance out. It has to.

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