Saturday, July 17, 2010

Not Perfect, But Mine

Real life is not like a carefully prepared and cooked meal which has no imperfections and is served in the finest of restaurants. It is more like your own home's cooking over time. There are some meals that are almost painful to swallow and you are sure you don't want to ever eat them again and then there are some that taste just like heaven. On the first bite, it is sometimes hard to tell which is which.

I nudge you and you turn. "What?"

"Did you have any nicknames growing up?" I know the answer, but I ask anyway. I am not anticipating fully what will be spoken.

"Sure. Doesn't everyone."

"Well, what were they?"

"You mean like what did all my girlfriends call me?"

This is meant to get a rise out of me, but I ignore it. "No, like what did your parents call you?"

"Lots of stuff. Digger, juero, hotchie, ultimo, junior." Then a pause, "Shithead."

I have known you for a long time, so I do not ask if you are joking..................

Beer bottles litter the counter top as daylight streams in through the broken blinds. You awake from the couch where you have fallen asleep and no one has bothered to move you. You blink back the sun, rub your eyes, and try to distinguish where you are exactly and who is with you. As your eyes focus you see your father asleep in a chair. A beer can still in his lap. You get up and make your way to the bathroom to pee. On your way back you kick over a pipe of some sort that has made its way to the floor. You make a mental note to pick that up later.

Your father moves slightly and not knowing exactly what will come of it you walk over to him and lean into him. This could be a good or a bad move, but you are hungry and your stomach is leading the way.

It turns out to be a good move. Your father moves slightly and squints open his eyes. "Hey you," he manages. As he says this he tousles your hair and the beer can tips slightly and beer starts to flow into his lap. "God damn it," he mutters. You quickly tip it upright and he says, "You're saving the day already, digger."

"I'm hungry, pops."

"Well, let me pee and we'll eat, then. What time is it anyway?"

You do not know how to tell time yet, but as he pees you bring him his watch which you had seen next to the pipe. "Well," he says, "what do you know? We slept till half past a monkey's ass. Or noon." He grins and messes with your hair again.

He pops a beer as you both wander through the mess over to the fridge. He cracks it open and it is nearly empty. All you can see is a jar of mayonnaise and some kind of drink in a carton. "So, I see your ma has not managed to get to the grocery with her busy schedule and all." He says this in a funny way that you do not yet know as sarcasm. You cannot figure out why it makes your heart hurt a little.

"She's been working," tumbles out of your mouth. Your instinct is to defend her, but again you do not yet know why.

"So, she says, digger, so she says."

While he has been sucking on his beer and talking to you he has taken two pieces of white bread from a bag on the counter and spread them with mayonnaise. He has put the two pieces together and placed this on the counter in front of you.

"Nothing in it, pop?"

"No, ultimo. Not today."

You eat it. "What do you call this kind of sandwich, pop?"

"Well, if I were you I'd call it lunch."


Jae said...

Oh this makes me sad. Excellent writing, just a sad source.

fsowannabe said...

I'm with Jae - just hard to read, but great writing.