The day I stopped eating was the day I found out my father had been dabbling in infidelity.
Or, at the very least, that’s the moment I first learned that I was to take a stab at mediating a grown-up relationship. The eating, or lack thereof, came later.
In that particular moment, we were seated at a Denny’s across from one another. I was a couple of years shy of twenty and he had asked to meet, intimating that it was important we do so because there was something he had to say. I remember driving to the restaurant thinking that it may have been of a marital nature. Him and my mom, well they never really got it right. Sure, they shared intermittent joys. But, for the most part, as I certainly perceived it, it was fairly rough.
I was preparing myself for the worst; and because of the less than stellar relationship we had built up until that point and the aforementioned inkling, I was mildly on the defensive going into it.
When I arrived, he was already there, seated in one of the vinyl booths in the back of the restaurant. When he got up to greet me, I noticed a certain hesitation, a reluctance. We said our ‘hellos’ and sat down facing each other. After a few moments of smalltalk- the smalltalk, dad and I found, to be the only meaningful discourse between the two parties; a sort of reactionary duty- he let me have it.
He had cheated. The dirtbag.
I remember wanting to take the inexpensive, diner-worn fork and jam it into his eye. I remember asking myself why he would do such a thing; if it were a result of some level of boredom or disgust, or if it were, as my mother had said then and on so many occasions later, simply a man “turning away from god.” The former being something I couldn’t accept, and the latter being one that was any easy explanation (yet not, as I would find later, one suitable for me).
By the time I figured out he had been adulterating around the globe for the duration of their marriage, I was a staunch supporter of Team Mom.
More to come your way in Volume Two