I call home.
Dad picks up. His voice, quiet at first, rises, a higher pitch, a happy pitch.
“How are you Daddy?”
“Better when I hear your voice.”
He says that every time I call. My mother answers differently. She is fine or tired.
“I’m, alright. It’s going…okay.”
He knows I’m not okay.
“Oh, my darling is tired. It will be better, I promise you. If I could, I’d come visit you.”
I sometimes forget how sweet he is. When I tell Mom I’m tired, she says oh no, not again, or nothing. Then I say Mom, that’s not why I called. I called you to tell me it’s going to be okay. Well, I don’t know what you want me to say, she says. Just say what I just said! She laughs and I laugh and the next time she is about to say oh no not again, she stops mid-sentence and says, oops, I’m not supposed to say that. We both laugh again.
But funny thing is Daddy knows exactly what to say on the phone. In person, he is real quiet, so much that you get angry because you think you don’t exist.
I hold my cell away so it doesn’t touch my wet cheeks. I look at myself in the mirror as Daddy says you are going to be fine, and I look ridiculous, all crying and silly. I keep crying and I say bye Daddy, I love you. He loves me back and I feel guilty for hurting him.
“I’m sorry if I made you sad Daddy.”
He is real sweet, of course he understands.
Of course he understands.
I call home.