It hadda be kismet. How else to explain it? As I looked out the window and saw my father hobbling down the walkway toward my front door, I could only shake my head. Boy he’s got some nerve.
And after all these years.
When the doorbell rang, I gave sufficient time before answering it. Why not? When did he ever not keep ME waiting?
ME (opening door): Hi Dad.
DAD (walking past me): Hey what’s going on here?
He walked down the hallway, looking around in the living room and up the steps, then ended up in the kitchen. If he was looking for something particular who knew? Not that anything particular ever happened around here anymore; not since Linda and the kids left last fall anyway.
ME: Nothing’s going on here Dad, why would you think something’s going on?
DAD (looking flushed): Well I figured since—you know—since you got lucky.
ME: Got lucky? Nothing’s changed Dad if that’s what you mean. Everything’s still the same.
He sat down at the breakfast bar like he was sitting down at the counter in a diner. And expecting some service too.
ME: You want some coffee Dad.
DAD: Well if you have it made already sure.
I reached into the cabinet and pulled out the Folgers, spooned some into the basket of the machine, and poured in some water.
ME: I don’t have it made Dad. It doesn’t take much to make it.
As he and I watched the coffee machine doing it’s thing, I wondered how in the world I could respond to his sudden interest in me. Like I said “after all these years”. Gosh he hadn’t been around at all since before I married Linda. He couldn’t stand her from the start. A real hellion he called her—commie pinko—any disparaging thing he could think of. He’d missed out on all the happy times, like when Travis or Tracey were born. And he wasn’t there for the bad times either, like when my alcoholism was at its peak and my marriage and job fell apart.
And here he is now.
ME: Dad, what can I do for you?
I served him his coffee with lots of sugar, the way I knew he liked it, and looked at him expectantly. I couldn’t wait to hear what he could possibly say.
DAD (looking small and humbled): Well, I figured you were gonna be calling me anyway so I just came over.
ME: Calling you for what?
DAD: Well you know, to share. I mean they said on the TV it’s like fifty million. Is it really that much? You do plan on sharing some of that with your old Dad now don’t you?
He was smiling. And it disgusted me. Things had been stagnant between us since forever and here he sat, really expecting that I’d be giving him money.
ME: Dad I haven’t really thought about it much to be honest.
DAD: Haven’t thought about it? What’s there to think about? I mean I’m your Dad for chrissakes.
ME: Yeh you’re my Dad, but that doesn’t automatically mean I’m just gonna give you my money.
DAD (eyebrows raised): Give me your MONEY? What do you mean YOUR money? You didn’t earn it, it was luck. And I’m your Dad. Come on now Son, why won’t you give me some of that money? After all I’ve done for you?
Well wasn’t this just the cat’s ass? What a turn of events, eh? Since the windfall all kinds of people were crawling out of the woodwork. Mark, my best friend from high school and the best man at my wedding: silent all these years but now calling and showing up. The neighbors bringing me cakes and their kids knocking on the door at all hours offering to mow the lawn and do whatever I wanted. Cousins I didn’t even know. And Linda, acting as if I owed her something.
Where did these people get off?
The only ones getting anything out of this will be the kids. Not that I’d seen much of them lately, but still. They’re my kids.
ME: After all you’ve done for me Dad? Come on now, we’ve been on the outs for years, you know that. We hardly even know each other any more.
DAD: Oh I know you. You’re my son. Come on now, how much you gonna share with me? Did you get it yet?
He stood up and walked over to me and put his arm around my neck. He looked up at me with what appeared to be a sort of tenderness. My Dad?
DAD: Come on Son. I know I haven’t been around for awhile. And I feel bad about that. You want to hear this right? This is what you wanna hear? Come on now Son. I’m apologizing. I’m sorry I haven’t been around and we’ve had bad blood.
ME (quiet): Dad, come on.
I tried to shake him off and walk away. But for some reason when I tried he pulled me closer. Well, it did feel good to have my Dad trying to reconcile with me. Wouldn’t a part of you feel glad too?
ME: Dad, okay okay, alright already.
DAD (stepping back, smiling at me up and down): So you’ll do it then?
Maybe now I could let bygones be bygones. Maybe this was a time for me to be able to right some wrongs and to fix what’s broke.
ME: Okay Dad, sure. I’ll share some with you.
I looked at him not knowing where to begin. I had a million questions to ask him- there was so much time to be made up.
DAD: So how much you gonna give me?