we are supermodern we are retroactive we are automatons
we are individuals we are whispers we are all you hear.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Father

Watching my father play with my year-and-five-months-old half-brother, asking him things like "What sound does an elephant make?" to which he replied by pressing his lips together and blowing a long noise that sounded like he was forcing a 'p' out along with a 't' and a 'b,' and walking him around the deck and yard, I, possibly for the first time in my life, felt proud of my dad. We didn't have the nicest experience living with each other for five years (almost to the day I believe), and now I'm living with him again (almost to the day I last left), if only temporarily. Seeing him interact with my little brother, showing so much love... It surprised me.

For most of my life my father has been perpetually pissed off and frequently cynical. After I discovered a whole new world of music from what he had shown me, this gap has stretched and widened between us so far that we can barely see one another beyond the horizon. It hurts me that most conversations he and I have keep me on the defensive, constantly fending off his cynicism and utilitarian beliefs. The only time he and I agree on anything is about movies, and only subjectively good blockbusters. We both like loud noise and explosions in a summer action flick, with some suspended believability, but as far as I can tell, he doesn't enjoy neurological films, whereas they are my preferred films.

I say 'as far as I can tell' because, honestly, my father remains a mystery to me. His isn't an icewall that keeps people out - he is not impassionate and distant. He is a burning inferno, frightening people away from their own person. I am afraid to be honest with him because I do not think he will approve of my ideas. And it is not the typical father's approval I seek, it is a man-to-man approval. He would not approve of my views and would scoff at them and tell me how wrong I am. His caustic tongue and abrasive tones keep me from speaking to him about my life experiences.

This is all in person. When I spoke to him on the phone from university, he was nothing but supportive and caring. He said he thought that it was a really good choice to take life as it was presented to me, and fully backed my decision to not return to university in the coming fall. He gave me advice about moving to Montreal and the things I should do this summer. All on the phone. As soon I got in a car with him, I knew things were going to be the exact same as before I moved out. He doesn't treat me like his serf anymore, this is true, but it seems as though he believes I owe him something.

This summer will be a tough one if I have to live here for the entire time before I move to the Frenchland. If I get a job in the Other Town, I will consider myself fortunate for the escape. This place is not a prison, but it is not a home. What do you call that?


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  2. i really got a lot out of this. i remember many conversations .. well a couple key phone calls and more convos with you on this situation but not to this depth. you have matured and your perspective is much wiser and well described. i really hope his ignorance and insecurity can be softened enough to realize he has already won the prize once ... he just needs to embrace it once.