It’s 27 degrees in New York right now. I hate the cold, but I still want to move back there. Well, “move back there” is not exactly the right term. It’s not like I just left. I haven’t lived in New York since 1998, when I left for Washington, D.C. to take a reporting job. My first husband and I had just broken up, and Washington was the start of my new life. And it was. I set out on my own, made lots of friends, met my husband, and, by the time we moved, left lots behind.
Going to Hell? You’re in luck. It just froze over. I know it froze over because of what my dad said. He’s said a lot of bizarre things, and I’ve tried to document them all here, but this one is so out of his realm I’m still reeling.
Two weeks ago, my husband was talking to him on the phone, discussing our major home repairs, and my dad said, “Listen, if you need help, I have some money set aside for things like this.” While they were talking, I heard my husband say, “Well, we really appreciate that. I don’t know what to say. Thank you.” I had my doubts, but when they hung up, my husband confirmed that my prosperous-but-miserly Dad did indeed offer us money to pay for the repairs.
We snuck off to New York last month. We didn’t tell my father. We visited my birth family and best friend, but we did not visit my dad. I wasn’t trying to punish him. He did it to himself. I told him that my birth mother wanted to buy us plane tickets to visit and he said, “Don’t go taking money from her. You’re getting too involved. She wants to mother you. She has a mother complex.”
It was Monday night. The car had broken down that afternoon — it was a whole ordeal — and I’d finally lain down in bed. Matt burst into our bedroom and said, “We’ve got water coming into the house!” I got up and headed to the basement. Sure enough, the bathroom floor was soaked, as was the carpet in the bar and the laundry room floor. We looked at the damage, mentally tallying up the cost to fix it. A few days later, I told my father.
My dad had a car accident a few weeks ago, and it’s all he’s talked about since. Every phone call, he tells me the story again. And every time he does, the story changes. Remember playing telephone – where everyone sits in a circle and each whispers a message to the next kid, and at the end, the message is totally different? Well, that’s what this game of telephone’s been like, but my dad’s the only one playing.