I Always Loved You. You Were Just So Difficult.
As my aging father’s health began to fail, I found myself torn between caring for him while mending our broken relationship and chasing ghosts from an abusive past.
Illustrations by Vaso Michailidou
“Good thing that George Zimmerman has been found innocent,” my father says to me. He emphasizes the “that” in the sentence, like that ice cream, that book. I have just gotten off a nonstop flight from San Francisco to Newark, New Jersey and have been in his car for approximately eight minutes. I promised myself, my boyfriend and God that I would not let my father trigger my anger on this visit. In the airport, I bought him a Power Bar, pretzels and water to make sure he had sustenance for the hour or so ride from the Newark airport to my hometown in Pennsylvania. I do not crack any jokes when he puts his music on, a combination of Neil Diamond, the Turtles and ABBA — music he’s played on every car ride since I was a child. I do not get upset when he asks me to remind him that we’re looking for 78 West and then when we get to the split and have to choose between 78 West and 78 East he forgets he said he needed to go west, insists it was east, until I ca…