Tuesday, October 05, 2010

He Drinks Tea Now Day!

Your Dad's back.

"Yeah, back in town. Looking for a way to stay out of trouble," he'll tell you at the coffee shop where you agreed to meet.

Tell him you won't let him see his grandchildren, and that after this afternoon you would appreciate if he'd never contact you directly again until someone handling his estate reaches you to tell you how much of his debt you've just inherited because he died by setting himself on fire in bed or driving through the front door of a school or one of the many other horrible ways in which everyone has always assumed he'd leave this earth.

"Tea," he'll say to the waitress when she appears to take your orders. "Chamomile if you have it."

Ask him when he switched from coffee to tea, then tell him never mind, you don't care, and then show him the scar on your arm.

"I'd take my own life if it would take that mark off your skin," he'll say.

Watch him sip his tea and tell him you're not buying it. That just because he's holding a little teacup in between the small of his index finger and thumb, it doesn't shorten Mom's prison sentence.

"I never asked her to take the rap for me," he'll say.

"But she did," tell him.

Your Dad will suggest that maybe the two of you should make the most of your mother's sacrifice, and keep the family together in her absence.

"Tea," say to him. Say it as a question.

Leave feeling like you really gave him the business, but in a few months you're going to invite him to your home for Sunday dinner with his grandkids, and a week or two after that the two of you will go and visit your Mom together, then finally he'll die pulling one of your kids out of the way of a speeding car, and you'll cry for him at his funeral, and none of it would ever come to pass had he ordered coffee today.

Happy He Drinks Tea Now Day!