I don’t even know where to begin because every time I open my mouth to make a sound, nothing comes out. Years ago, I pounded away on a keyboard in an office on 53rd Street when a woman, a stranger, called me to say that my father was in the hospital. He’d taken a fall, and I remember leaving the office with only my wallet. I’d been in a middle of an email, about to make a phone call, and I abandoned everything to go to Penn Station. During the hour-long train ride I imagined the unimaginable, and when I finally saw my father, when he was finally home from getting stitches in his head, we had the biggest fight we’d ever had, and I left in tears. I remember shouting that he could’ve prevented this. I remembered saying the words, I’m done.
We didn’t speak for four years. Or three? I can’t really remember. Time is getting lost on me these days.
We made our way back to one another slowly: a few texts here and there, a phone call. During the time we didn’t speak, during the holidays we spent apart, I promised myself that I wouldn’t mother him again. I wouldn’t smother or suffocate; I wouldn’t solve. My father is an adult capable of making his own decisions and he’d need to bear the consequences of them. When we first saw one another for a casual lunch he talked about a pain in his leg and I fought the urge to tell him to go to a doctor. Everything in me stopped myself from dialing numbers and making appointments because it isn’t my job to fix everything.
Without going into too much detail, those words said in passing, I’ve got a pain in my leg, morphed into something tremendous. And here I am, years later, back to where I started. A conversation with my father’s boss sent me into a maelstrom of emails, texts, and phone calls, and I’m utterly depleted. I’ve started a new project this week and all I can think about is my father. The stress is all-consuming, and I don’t think he realizes how his actions affect those around him.
Why is he so fucking stubborn? Why can’t he just fix this?
We had a terrible fight this morning. I’m back here again. Didn’t I learn the first go-around? While I’m aware of the severity of the situation, I’m also acutely attuned to the fact that we may have an argument from which we won’t recover. But maybe I’m overthinking this. Maybe I’m being presumptuous and should have more faith. Right now, all I know is that I’m tired.
I scrolled through my Flickr feed this morning and saw these books. And all I want right now is to get lost in this stack and remain there.
Thank you for your lovely comments and notes–I appreciate them more than you know. Please understand that I just don’t have it in me to respond to them right now.