Day Forty Nine: Waiting For That Day

Me in thoughtful repose.

I'm posting another song in my mixed tape, and please don't groan because it's a George Michael tune.

"Waiting For That Day" has a bit of the Rolling Stone's "You Can't Always Get What You Want" mixed in towards the end, which makes it very suitable for what I'm feeling tonight. I've been listening to this song over and over again, thinking about my Dad and how I'm completely baffled by our current relationship.

When I was little, my Dad was a bit of a mystery because he was never around. He worked a lot, sometimes two jobs to keep us youngsters clothed and fed, which meant long hours and only one day off a week. And when he was home, my Dad was surrounded by women--my Mom, two sisters, me, grandmother, and several aunts--who talked above each other to be heard. The only way he made his presence known was by whistling Elvis tunes while he tended to his plants around the house or shouting at the TV when the Yankees were losing a game. I didn't know anything about his side of the family or his childhood stories until I was almost in high school.

My Mom was always the keeper of my Dad's secrets. Little by little she doled them out like precious desserts: anecdotes of how they met, stories that my Dad's mother and father had told her, and old black-n-white photos that had seen better days. She painted a picture of a handsome, carefree man who sacrificed himself for the sake of his family, and which made me love him without fault. He became a romantic hero in the story of my life, the prequel of all the things I wanted to become. I simply adored my Dad.

These last two months have made me realize that I don't know him. I may know the sound of his voice or the shape of his face, but when he speaks to me I feel lost and confused. His words are often not what I expect to hear and sometimes a little hurtful. And I'm beginning to feel duped by my Mom.

My sisters think that he might be experiencing a bit of a psychotic breakdown, which sounds worse than it actually is. In the aftermath of my Mom's death, I think it would be a normal thing to happen and I welcome this conclusion. But if it turns out to be something more, something that would make me believe that I was wrong all these years about my Dad, then I would be devastated.

7. Waiting For That Day/Can't Always Get What You Want/George Michael