There was a knock at the door. Dad was slouched on the couch scratching lottery tickets and lifted his head abruptly when he heard the subtle taps. We hadn’t talked for days since mom left. I didn’t know what to say considering I knew almost nothing about their relationship. I figured it was something about drugs, or money, or other women but it could’ve been anything.
When I was younger he would always say “Treat your wife like a queen, and if you feel the need to go elsewhere, then do, but always return to her.” I never understood what he meant by that, but now it makes sense. I don’t live by this standard, nor will I ever, but it helps me understand all the days mom went away for weeks, and the noises I heard throughout those nights.
He looked at me in question and I shrugged my shoulders, I wasn’t expecting anyone this late at night, especially because of my workload. Books surrounded me and I was quite comfortable in my spot on the couch so I wasn’t moving. He breathed heavily and arose from his spot. The door cracked open but not enough so I could see who it was.
They spoke. “What happened?” It was a woman, older than myself but not as old as my dad. Maybe it was the nervous tone, but she could have been late 20s, if that.
He forced a grunt and kept the door barely cracked. “Nothing.”
There had been pieces of broken glass surrounding our front door for days now. I had come home for the weekend from school to check up on how my folks were doing and found my mom gone, and broken glass everywhere. He wouldn’t tell me what happened either.
“Okay. Are you alright?” She questioned.
The voice was not familiar to me at all, but I could tell there was some history between her and my dad. They spoke like there was a million miles between them, not just a screen door. I didn’t want to rustle anything and have our surprise guest be aware of my presence, but I was damn curious to see who it was. I fought the urge to move and continued to listen in.
“Ya, I’m alright.” My dad combated.
“You don’t have to lie to me. You could just say no I’m fucking not, but I’m not going to talk to you about it.” She sounded less irritated and more hurt. She didn’t seem mad, which I found strange, but then again I have no idea how they know each other.
“Okay, no I’m fucking not, but I’m not going to talk to you about it.” He responded blankly.
“Okay. Fair enough.” She began to walk away from our door.
“Why do you have to be like that? Always prying into other people’s lives. You’re insane.” He persisted, her footsteps stopped.
“I don’t pry into people’s lives, if I care about someone, sometimes I get lucky and they care about me too. There is a relationship there, and we support each other, so if they are hurting I will be there for them. Honestly when I saw you tonight you looked destroyed, more destroyed and broken then I have ever seen someone before. The fact that we used to know each other makes me care, so when I asked if you were alright it was telling you that even though I am nowhere in your life anymore there is always an outlet and always someone to go to. That someone is not me, and never will be, but I was giving you an inch of hope, looks like you could use it.”
She had a point. I had never seen my dad this broken down either. Probably because he was getting older, so his faced had more wrinkles of expression. In some ways I always knew my parents would separate. It seemed like the entire time I was growing up they would be arguing, which led to my mom moving out, my dad diving into the bottle, and then one day she would return like everything was normal. I believed I was the only reason that they stuck together, but I don’t believe that anymore. My dad seemed to actually care for my mom, and vise versa. Why they couldn’t make it work fluently remains a mystery.
I have never been close to either of my parents. Yes, I’m thankful they gave me a roof over my head and funds for college, but other than that I share no personal connection to either of them. How I’m not adopted amazes me.
“Ha. Fuck you.” He responded.
If there is one thing about my dad its that if you want a deep and meaningful conversation, I suggest you knock on someone else’s door. I’m studying psychology, communication, and literature in school; I’m adopted.
She didn’t say anything more and I heard her proceed to walk away. He closed the door and sat back down on the couch, studying his lottery tickets.
I stop pretending to study and look over at him. He doesn’t return the glance.
“Who was that?” I asked, intrigued.
He smirked devilishly “No idea.”
And just like that I had to drop the subject and return to my studies. I wouldn’t question it any further because half of me knew I wouldn’t get any answers, and the other half didn’t want to know. I had never actually seen anyone my dad was cheating with but I always heard their voices. I could never understand my parents, and their lack of communication. I felt bad for this young woman trying to help the soulless bastard that I call my father, but in the end it was better that she moved on to people that had control of their lives.
I’m not saying I want my dad to be alone for the rest of his life, but soon enough my mom will come back, and things will fall back into place. It will be perfect for a month or two, and then my dad will pick up another young woman and my mom will leave again. There will be another knock on the door and my dad will presumably have “no idea who it is”. If I could do something about it, as much as I am grateful for my parents support, I don’t think I would.
If I have learned anything in school it’s that some people just can’t be saved.