I thought about putting a pillow over my dad until he was smothered dead. He was just lying there looking at the ceiling and the doctors said his brain was basically over. I could barely even hear him breathe and he couldn’t move at all except blink. Who would care if I smothered him? It would take me about two minutes.
Instead, I chickened out. I felt obligated to stay there for an hour so I could say I put in my time with him. I watched the stock market on the TV in the room. I was short the market and the market was going straight up. So my dead-but-alive father was right there and I was losing money. What a horrible day. I left the home he was imprisoned in.
Then on the way home I was lost in that clusterfuck intersection between the GW Bridge, NYC, and NJ, and upstate NY. It’s like a galactic wormhole over there. And at one point I saw a police blockade so I panicked. My driver’s license was suspended. So I made a right turn. The next thing I knew, three policemen were chasing after me. “hey,” Hey!” “HEY!” “STOP!” So I stopped.
“You’re going the wrong way down a one way street,” the cop who caught up with me said. He was out of breath. “Let me see license and papers.”
I opened up the glove compartment and took out the papers. “Are you Anne?” the cop asked.
“Uhh, that’s my wife’s name.”
“So this is not your car?”
“Well, it sort of is.”
“Ok,” he said, “where’s your license.”
“I left it at home.”
“You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me,” he said.
“I usually have it,” i said. I lied. My license had been suspended a year earlier. “But my dad just had a stroke and I was visiting him. Im really sorry.”
“you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me,” he said again, “you have no license, this is not your car, and you were driving the wrong way down a one way street.”
In the background the lights from at least four police cars were flashing. Who knows what their blockade was about. Maybe they were hiding Osama Bin Laden in one of the suburban houses right behind the blockade
“Youve gotta be fucking kidding me,” the cop said for the third time.
I didn’t know what to say. I was really scared. My car was going to get impounded and I was going to go to jail. I remember thinking that would’ve been my last chance to kill my dad and I blew it because now I’d be in jail.
“Get out of here,” the cop said and he handed me back the car papers. “You would be too much paperwork for me.” And he started to walk off, back towards the blockade where, presumably, they were catching criminals.
I turned around and started to drive past him.
“Umm, excuse me?”
“What can you possibly want now?”
“How do I get out here? I want to get to NY.”
“Go up that road and get the fuck out of here.”
I went up the road. Made a left. Made a right. And I was lost again. Nice suburban houses. Lots of trees. I’m sure people in these houses had stable jobs and weren’t running out of money like I was at the time.
Then they peeled out onto a highway with some stores. I stopped at a McDonalds. I was really hungry and I had McDonalds. I haven’t eaten at McDonalds since in years. I had two hamburgers, lots of pickles on them.
That night I got home and my kids were watching TV. They didn’t notice that I had come in. They didn’t care. Eventually I would no longer live with my kids. My wife was upstairs somewhere. Eventually she would be my ex-wife. I sat down in my ex-kitchen and had some ex-wine. My house was one foot from my neighbor’s house. I could hear them go to the bathroom. Then flush. My ex-neighbors.
My kids at the time were 6 and 3. “I hope to god one of you kids will have the courage to kill me when the time comes,” I told them.
One of them, the three year old, looked at me but then looked back at the TV. I hope in the back of their minds, somewhere, they were tuned in to me. I hope when the time comes they smother me with a pillow until I turn purple and not a single breath will ever escape me again.
They’re older now. And I can see they are trying to understand life around them. They keep secrets.
And I’m married to Claudia now. And I still don’t have a driver’s license but at least my dad is dead.
When I was four years old I remember when we were moving houses. My dad took me around the neighborhood so I could say goodbye to the kids who had been my friends for 80% of my life at that time. I didn’t even understand what “good-bye” meant. We said goodbye to Adam and Jonathan. I remember their names. It was a hot day and I was in a t-shirt. I kept saying goodbye over and over again.
Finally my dad laughed and said, “ok, we have to go now.”
And my dad and I went into the car with my mom and we drove to our new house. And we never went back again.