Friday, November 18, 2016

The longest minute of my life

Written November 18, 2015

Last Saturday, I was headed home after a long day at work. It was around 4:00 p.m. and I just wanted to get home, change clothes, eat something, nap, whatever. I’d been thinking about it most of the day.

About five minutes from arriving at my apartment, I got a call from my mother, who requested that I come over so she and Dad could talk to me. I’m turning 42 in two days and I still sat at the stoplight scanning my brain for what I had done to get in trouble.

My mom sounded so grave and tense that I figured they were about to tell me someone was dying. Mom recently had a routine checkup for the breast cancer she battled in 2001, and Dad had an issue with his pancreas that turned out to be nothing (in that ominous doctor’s voice: “For now.”) I just assumed because what else could it be?

I was close to my parents' house when Mom called, so when I breezed through the door a few minutes later, she seemed surprised. It wouldn’t have mattered if I’d been a state away, I wanted to say. I would’ve teleported here out of sheer will.

I started to head for the kitchen, the place where we normally all chat. Mom said, “Let’s go in the living room.” That always means something serious is up. When you have to start out sitting in the comfy chairs, you know you’re going to be there a while.

Dad appeared a few minutes later and took a seat near me, across the room from Mom and his normal seat. I was really getting worried.

I don’t remember how he started his speech, but he assured me that everyone’s physical health was fine. The moments it took him between “We’re healthy” and his announcement that he and my mom were getting divorced, however, seemed to last and last.

After 45 years of marriage, my folks have decided to split. Irreconcilable differences and all that. There’s more to the story that I might someday share, but the divorce is news enough for now.

Dad is moving out tomorrow. He sent me his new address today and I just stared at it in the email, trying to make a shred of sense out of the past four days. Second longest minute.

No comments: