I’m thinking about my next move. in every which way — location, job, post-grad education (mom keeps asking when I’ll get my M.B.A.), relationship status (cousins keep asking if I know how to talk to girls yet), and even the small things. like, my haircut and wardrobe. I’m still not sure what my style is, and how I’m supposed to just know what looks good.

my dad is the only one who doesn’t ask me questions, though, just: “want to go run errands with me?” he sees me drinking coffee (two cups so far) as I’m staring out the window. it’s the holidays, and I took off of work for over a week to be here. mom’s demand.

“you move so far away, and now you never visit us!”

“I visit more than I see some of my friends.”

“that’s a lie! when you’re not at work, you’re with friends! you should be –” I tuned out the lecture. it occurred the first day of me being here and I was too jet lagged. plus, she sneaks in a similar rant on our weekly phone calls.

anyway, present day, and dad eyes my cup. “throw it out, yeah? you’re not at work. did you not get enough sleep?” I haven’t been. this always happens. I’m around family, enjoying their company, but then away from my routine of work and after work and weekend plans…and what exactly is my life when I’m not keeping busy?

“are you dating someone, son?” sometimes I think my parents assume I’m gay because I never mention anyone. my dad, never one to ask questions much, occasionally will ask me this. I think he assumes if I was married off already, my mom wouldn’t stress over me as much. as if that would stop her.

“uh, there’s–I’ll tell both of you if anything becomes serious. but I do date.” he raises his eyebrows at my non-answer. I know he’s been suspecting. sometimes when my mom video calls me, she’s too busy going into questioning mode, but my dad, he sneaks a soft smile at me. I notice I’ve already been smiling every time.

“yes, we can’t stress out your mom. you know she made me buy her that extra freezer just for the food she makes you. I told her we don’t have to keep saving you all this stuff, but–“

“I appreciate the food you hunt and she cooks.”

he sighs, resigned. “I know, son.” pats my shoulder and motions towards the door. wordless, he grabs keys and heads out the door. my cue to head after him as he revs up the engine.

my dad is usually pretty quiet. small observations, one-liner jokes occasionally, but usually he just listens. we both mostly do. I mean, I’m chattier than my dad, but no one can take the stage like mom can.

I feel like I’m detaching from people again. I’m constantly with them, but I feel distant. they tell me things, common things about how their life is going, and everything coming out of their mouths sounds foreign. am I stuck? what will happen next? my lists, goal-setting and detailed, my black boards…all of it and I’m still lost.

car’s horn blares. dad’s way of saying, get out of your head and into this car.

I get a text. I read it from the notification bar, and then clear it.

I have some things to figure out.

Published by Jaz


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