Monday, January 24, 2011

Writing Prompt 13: Willing To Be Happy

"If you want to stay miserable, then go ahead and stay miserable," my father says.
"I'm not miserable."
"You sound great."
"What did you say?" I ask when I really meant to ask, "What do you mean?"
"You can either stay miserable or let it go."
"I have let it go. I'm not wasting my energy on this-"
"What are you spending your energy on?"
"Writing."
"Great. That's what you should be doing."
"I am! But it doesn't take away the disappointment."
"Let it go."
I breathe, silently thanking him for giving me an excuse not to call him for another few weeks.
Earlier in the conversation, after telling me how he and my brother went for a long walk and that my brother explained to him that he had all he could take on Christmas which is why he had to leave early, I cut him off.
"He bailed on me, Dad! You and I have always made excuses for him so he doesn't have to grow up and I'm done doing that."
"No, I don't think that's true," he tells me. Of course not.
"You're doing it right now," I suggest.
"That's not his job!"   It's mine is what he means to say.
I pick up my pace, clenching my jaw.
"If you ever get in a bind like that, you just call me and I'll come pick you up from your mother's house," he tells me. He said the same thing to me when I was ten and I realize that nothing much has really changed in the way my parents handled not only their failed marriage but their failed divorce. While telling us it had nothing to do with us, the way they behaved sent a drastically different message. This has nothing to do with you, but you may be used as ammunition. I feel my chest tightening the longer I stay on the phone and feel a sudden urge to toss my phone into the Atlantic Yards Project. After he laughs away my anger with some bad jokes, I calmly tell him I don't think I can afford to come back home in June. He chats a little longer and then asks if I would be interested in hiking Mt. Whitney with him over the summer. I tell him again, I'm not going to make it home this summer and he finally hears me.
"Hmmm...well I guess I'll have to come your way."
"It's fun over here," I offer.
We hang up the phone and I stew about him accusing me of being miserable. I do not feel miserable but nothing is more frustrating when you have worked so hard to get out of a depression as to hear someone tell you that you are choosing to be miserable. There is nothing I want more in this world than happiness.

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