My Poor Father

by Amelia Kanan

Note from the Author: This entry is extremely honest and I hope you all can find it endearing rather than…the antonym of that.

He’s so happy to have me home. So excited to have someone around who gets him and sticks up for him. Understands his political and economic distress. Someone who will listen to his rants.  Stay up until 1am talking about life. Someone who will eat popcorn with and watch funny movies with. Someone to vent to.

He loves me so much and this, make me angry.

Here’s the thing: I’m angry with myself. Frustrated with myself. And even though I know it’s ME that’s the problem, I can’t flip my attitude. I don’t want to hang out with him. I avoid him like the plague. I don’t want to share my popcorn with him. I get infuriated when he just passes me in the hallway.

The other day I was sitting quietly, minding my own b, alone in the basement with my eyes closed trying to recall a feeling when I was 8 so I could finish this monologue I’m trying to write. I’m already on edge because I need to speak these words in my head out loud, record them and listen to myself but however I can’t do this because there is always someone home. I can’t ramble on and on, nonsense to myself in weird voices (which is all a part of the process of writing a performance) because there is always someone whose ears are within an ear’s shot. So, there I am…bitter, trying to feel alone so I can mentally (without any verbal mumblings) put myself in this place and I hear my dad “Amelia. Amelia? Honey? Do you know where Amelia is?”

Then, I hear my mom “I don’t know. She was in the bathroom 10 minutes ago.”

Oh. my. god. Are you serious? You took note of me going to the bathroom 10 minutes ago? Why is everything I do being recorded on some mental record? My insides begin to stew as I hear them, above me, bantering about where my proximity is. And what for? What is so pressing that my father needs me right now? In this quiet little moment where I’m trying to be alone and productive?

I literally sucked my tongue as hard  as I could which is some physical prevention procedure to not verbally lash out. Somehow this practice releases the tension and suppresses the reaction I actually want to give. The reaction I would regret, 2 seconds later. The reaction that would use vulgarity, throw daggers, belittle and release the little-16-year-old-brat that lives inside me somewhere.

So, instead, I inhale deeply and go to the bottom of the basement stairs, ” I’m downstairs, Dad.”

“Oh. Hey!” Why does he sound surprised I’m right under his nose and why is he so happy about ruining my moment? “Amelia? You got something in the mail, today”

My eyes are still closed, while my I take another deep breath too eke out the words “Thanks, Dad.”

I know my annoyance toward him has nothing to do with him. I’m annoyed with myself. That I’m 30 (Ok, 29) and this is where I am. Frustrated with myself that I still have this childishness inside me. That’s not his fault. That’s mine. He has done nothing but love me. H’s done nothing but hold fast to this crazy belief that I’m the best. He’s helped me in times when I definitely shouldn’t have been helped. He’s not only put up with my shit but has unconditionally loved my shit. And, here he is housing me…for free…without a complaint.

And, to boot, the poor guy sees me light up around other people, talk everyone else’s ears off, laugh at other people’s jokes, listen to friends’ stories and bears witness to me sharing my goodness with everyone else…except him. If the roles were reversed, my feelings would be more than hurt. In fact, I’d probably be a bit heartbroken.