This morning I lagged, waited to pack and sent out a few emails. I called Benz to set up the repo and have 30 days to return the car… Turns out it won’t be a mark on my credit as long as I set up a payment plan to cover the rest of my 20 payments. So I give the car back and pay for it. Upon the advice of my father I think it’s best to look at it like college loans. I was schooled in the art of signing contracts and now I have to pay for my lesson. I didn’t intend for it to work out like this, was prepared to take a hit and pay less but sometimes things turn out very differently than we expect, and my original plan doesn’t seem as good as this one. It’s nice to say that now because I didn’t feel that way earlier. These things.
I packed this morning and felt like I was doing it wrong. Felt anxious, and understandably so. How do I pack for a christmas I’ve never had? How do I prepare for a weekend with my father and siblings when it’s been 13 years since anything like this has happened. What would I have packed then? Why is it so hard now? I put sweaters and jeans in the bag, scarves and mittens, face wash and all my bullshit. I printed out copies of my first chapter to tear apart on the plane up here, brought Stephen Elliots “adderol diaries” to read. He is exploring the relationship with his father, as am I. I’m just beginning to have a relationship with my father. I don’t have to know how to pack, I just have to do it. Stop second guessing myself. Bring what feels natural. Dad doesn’t care. He just cares that I’m here.
The Portland airport is different in my memory. Less vibrant, colder than today, colder in feelings and colors. Today it was just an airport, and dad was waiting at security for me, with a camera and a hug. It’s nice to see him. It’s nice to have a dad again. We went out and ate Mongolia BBQ, we put hot peppers and jalapeños in our bowls, hot oil and Kung pao sauce, and we both sweat during the meal. We both ate ice cream covered in chocolate syrup. I told him I met someone wonderful, and he told me to take it slow. I am. And I will.
We came back to his house and it smells like him. Like coffee and aftershave, like my dad in the mornings on the way to school. He showed me the shop he built in the backyard, the ultimate man cave, and said this is where he plans on spending his retirement. We looked at his dad tools, the sand rail he’s been working in, he showed me the machine that twists and bends metal, and another that cuts pipe. He’s my dad. He’s always been my dad. Funny how strongly I feel that today.
Tomorrow we go pick up my brother 3 hours north, and then back to Portland to grab my sister from the airport. The Washington coast will be beautiful, has always been beautiful, even though I’ve never seen it. He said he’ll make coffee in the morning and I can smoke cigarettes in the backyard, it’s so cold here I can see my breath. Tonight, I’ll sleep in a room that could have been mine, and could still be mine, and my dad will sleep in the next room. We will both be thinking of the times that could have been had here, and some things will always be undone.
Tonight I am home, and I’m grateful to spend this holiday with my family. They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I think I’m starting to understand why.