Looking for reasons not to give us the money we asked for, two guys with bad teeth and beer bellies inspected my dad’s car with staged faces of disapproval.
We haggled for a minute, for old time’s sake, but quickly agreed on a price and shook on it.
My mom cried a little.
I couldn’t watch them drive it away.
I know I’m not the first son to write about his dead father’s car so I’ll spare you from what’s already been said so many times. But c’mon, you know how it is, part of his soul was in that damn thing.
While I was riding shotgun, he’d point to some woman in the street and say, “Do you know her?”
And like a slight-of-hand magician who masterfully misdirects the audience, he’d quickly press the button for my heated seat as I looked away. In the middle of the summer. And I’d sit there, with my ass on fire, instead of giving in to the fact that he got me.
Before we sold the car yesterday, my sister called and asked me to look under the driver’s side seat for toothpicks. So I got on my hands and knees and found a few for her.
My dad’s old toothpicks.
A little gross maybe, but after Hurricane Sandy had her way with almost everything in the house, they’re just about the only things we have left of his. That, and our DNA.
Our hands are (were) so different though. His were thick and powerful from working with them for most of his life while mine are, to be honest, fit for a yoga class. And while I’ve been driving his car around for the last year or so, I’d often look at my hands on the steering wheel and think of his.
It’s kind of like when I get my haircut now. I’ve been going to his barber since I’ve been back here in New York. An old Cuban lady he liked a lot.
I sit in her chair and look at myself in the mirror and I think about what he might have been thinking about as he looked at himself in the same mirror.
In the reflection of the reflection in the mirror behind me, you can see the tuxedo place across the street where my dad and I rented tuxedos for my sister’s wedding. I cried happily that day but as I write this now, my tears have a different tone.
I’m sitting at the dining room table, listening to Time Out by Dave Brubeck. My dad’s all time favorite album.
Years ago when I wrote for the Miami Herald, I’d come home for a visit and procrastinate the days away until needing to pull an all-nighter to get my column in before deadline. I’d write right here at this table and my dad would wake up at around four in the morning to ask me how I was doing.
My parents were proud of me then.
I know this is totally getting off topic, but hopefully my dad is looking down on me now and has finally realized that it’s not always easy being me.
Anyway, my mom already has a boyfriend. And I guess I have the right to be a prick about it, but I remember to take the high road instead. I’m just happy she’s happy again.
She certainly deserves to be.
“In Live Like a Fruit Fly, Gabe Berman shares his recipe for living a more joyful, worthwhile, and abundant life in every way. A witty, entertaining, and insightful read.” — Deepak Chopra, Author, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success