About two weeks later I asked him to come over and talk.
My mom hated seafood so we would often go get fish together and make fun of people at work, school, etc. I always made sure everyone felt welcome and included.
My dad is tremendously funny and a phenomenal story teller. I wore the same pair of vans tennis shoes to school for 5 years straight, had long un-brushed hair, and wore oversized sweatshirts and jean shorts to school. Because I wasn’t popular and because I was picky, I didn’t go on a single date until I was almost 20 years old. I thought it best to not deal with this all in real time in hopes that my Dad would come to his senses.
The conversation quickly fizzled and I walked away knowing my pain was now his too and there was nothing I could do to fix it.
I left Aaron alone for a while both because I wasn’t sure what else to say and because if it were me, I would have wanted time and space.
We had a great run together, but in the end saw our futures differently and went our separate ways. He was on my level: we owned our own homes and cars, were hard working, had good jobs, and were involved in the community. This was true and may have delayed their visit, but not the real reason for their absence.
I’m sure my dad didn’t think he was good enough either. It felt like a fit and I was pleasantly surprised when he invited me to spend his birthday weekend with him and his family in Palm Springs. As the holidays approached, I wasn’t sure what to do. When I told Aaron this, he offered to drive out to Vegas with me at some point during our holiday break to go see them.
As I told him about Aaron and I, the phone was silent; a pause on the other end of the line, “Is that that black kid? I was not to call him anymore, I had 2 weeks to get all of my items out of our family home, he had removed me from his will, and Christmas was cancelled. My dad wasn’t one of those crazy racist confederate flag people, right? My Dad’s birthday was in January so I decided to reach out and try to get a conversation going, even if it was awkward. All I can say is that I got through it only by the grace of God and I have no recollection of my words.
Aside from the occasional comment on the freeway my dad never said anything about race. He responded saying and there was no point in trying to correspond with him. There was a pause, followed by “I wish you wouldn’t have told me that so I would still think the world is a cool place”.
And yet here he was, proposing ridiculous conditions in order for us to even be in the same room together.