When I leave the store I can’t help but marvel at the world I didn’t see in my panic. My dad’s old beater – a meticulously tended to 1970s Oldsmobile that my mother would probably prefer he got rid of – pulls up in front of the gas station. It is his pride and joy, the only thing he seems to enjoy, though not really a beater – my mother just calls it that – because it is in like-new condition. It’s actually more classic looking than the Mercedes they are so proud of.
“Hey kiddo,” comes from the open passenger window.
It catches me off guard. Not because these are words I’ve never heard before but this kind of jovial utterance isn’t something I’ve ever heard from one of my parents; I’m almost inclined to believe that this is someone else’s classic Oldsmobile. Nevertheless it is my father with too long hair, trying to compensate for his receding hairline, and a salt and pepper bushy beard that he’s probably been cultivating for as long as he could grow facial hair; my father probably looks like more of a rabbi than most actual rabbis out there though he doesn’t have a lick of Jewish blood in him – my mother is the Jewish one. He looks like your idea of a recluse writer though I think the only time he touches a pen to paper is to sign off on whatever construction project his job assigns to him.
Tough I’m still inclined to question the “kiddo” I instead get in the passenger seat of the car. I probably just heard wrong. Without saying a word I close the door and buckle my seatbelt.
Before whipping around I contort my face into my best look of hurt.
When he sees my performance he looks around in his lap for something that isn’t there. He mumbles something I don’t hear.
“What?” I say.
“Your mother though it’d be best… to teach you… I don’t know. Not to disappear…” he said trailing off.
He looked like a scolded child but I was too angry to care.
“It was like Dante’s Inferno in there. I could have died. And yet you go along like a sheep with everything she says?” The hurtful sentiment shot out of my mouth faster than I could process what I was actually saying.
“Why are you always so angry Simon?”
And like that, for the remainder of the five minute drive home, the car was, once again, silent.