Monday, November 5, 2007

It's tragedy that brings back reality

It was Friday night and I had just finally gotten my phone back. Six voice mails, a couple of unseen texts...nice to know that even without my phone I am still loved.

I grabbed a taxi home again since my Dad wasn't going to be home until close to midnight. I got another fantastic taxi driver whom I've decided to wait until a later blog post to write about. (Because I have been keeping a journal of all the taxi drivers that I have met over the past few years of using their transportation services. And since my use of them is coming to an end shortly, I decided to blog about my experiences, each and every one of them, in order to make my Ode to the Taxi Driver: My Long Lost Salvation)

Once I got home, my roommate was already up and in the kitchen with one of her friends making a "penis cake", that is, a cake shaped like a penis. Along with chocolate "penis pops", that is, chocolate molded in the shapes of penises on sticks. You know, to suck. (Okay, okay, enough of the sexual innuendo.) She was preparing these little "fun treats" for the bachelorette party the next night for one of her friends who is to get married in the next couple of weeks.

Gen-gen gave me a holla on my phone and said that he and Alex were set for a night out on the town. One, because her parents were out of town and two, because Gen-gen got his parents to watch the dog for a weekend. So he could party, of course. It was not my intention to really PAR-TAY, but I would be stupid if I didn't admit that every single time Gen-gen and I go out, insanity ensues. Craziness.

Well, Gen-gen headed over to my place. I excused the mess, because just like Goosey, I am not particularly a slob or messy persay, it's just that I tend to lay things here and there throughout the week because I am too exhausted to put them away in their place. So I wait until Friday night to put everything away to let the week start out nice and clean. Except that when Gen-gen came over, I hadn't gotten a chance to motivate myself yet.

He fell onto my bed and then lay there as I walked around trying to get ready. He asked me how my week went - which led to another conversation, that led to a delightfully wonderful conversation and revelation (which will end up being the next post).

We head out to Mosaic with Alex and two of her friends. This Filipina girl whose name I didn't catch and her boyfriend, I (To keep anonymity). Let me talk about I for a second - this man had to be double the age of the Filipina girl (who looked like she couldn't be any older than 24 or 25). Not only was I older than the hills in age, but he was older than the hills in dress, mannerisms and...well, absolutely everything. There's a difference between a person's age and then a person acting and dressing, and being consumed by that number. I was one of these people, evidently.

He is Russian (of course, right? Gen-gen and Alex are.) and he has this very creepy look about him. The kind of perv, I would take girls into dark alleys that are half my age look. The "I am Soviet, hear me roar!" kind of look. Not only that, but he began dancing, if that's what you would want to call it. I don't even think all the dictionary knowledge in the word could help me describe to you how terribly horrible this man was at dancing. Think about the stiffest dance you could possibly think of - add in a little bit of attempt to roll your hips - except instead of rolling them in a sexy way, you're literally plummetting them into the side of your dance partner awkwardly. All the while your right arm is pressed in the air bent at the elbow while your right leg is up and you're trying to do some half-Funky chicken dance. Except that "The Chicken Dance" isn't playing: "This Is Why I'm Hot" by Mims is. Yes, it was that bad, people.

Okay, now that I've gotten that out of my system...


After the club, Alex and Gen-gen and I headed back to his place. I noticed a missed call around 11:30 from my mom. She never calls that late. She's never up that late. So I called my VM and listened to the message.

My Dad had come home from work at Nordstrom's with a horrible pain in his side, puking all over the place and just feeling incredibly lousy. He had decided to head to the ER at St. Joe's and my aunt had agreed to take him. They had found a kidney stone about 3 milimeters inside of his kidney. She wanted to let me know that we weren't going to be going to my nephew's birthday party the next day.

Since it was so late, Gen-gen let me crash in his guest room. I had passed out on his couch a few hours before and woke up around 4:30 AM, and walked up to the guest room and collapsed out on the bed.

Around 7:00 AM my phone goes off. I wake up and with sleepy eyes gloss over the screen of my cell while hanging out of the bed. I can barely make out the numbers but they look like my parents' house number. I picked up the phone.

"Hello?" I attempted to force myself awake but sitting all the way up and rubbing my free hand against my eyes.

"Em, your father is missing," came the clear, yet shaking voice of my Mom.

"What the f$%k?" was the first thing that came out of my mouth. I was wide awake now. "What are you talking about, Mom?"

"Your father is gone, he's missing. I called over at the hospital just two minutes ago and the nurses station said he was discharged at 4:20 AM this morning. But he never came home," came my mother's voice from the other side of the line. It came over with an eerie calmness, the kind that let you know that she hadn't let the news sink in yet - but that she was overwhelmed enough to know she needed someone to talk to.

"Well, wait - he never called you or anything? He couldn't have left the hospital by himself," my mind was racing to try to find some logical explanation as I tried to stay calm for my mother's sake.

"No...he never called. He never said anything. In fact, I had talked to him right before I left you that voice message last night and he said he was going to have to stay overnight there to try to get the kidney stone out. That was the last I heard of him. I don't know what else to do," she said.

"Have you called C?" C is my oldest brother whose a cop in Harford County.

"No but I am going to, he'll know what to do about these things." My Mom is the kind of person who thinks that a person's occupation makes them the Einstein-know-it-all of anything and everything related to that occupation. Since my brother is a cop, my mother felt that there had to have been some special "way" of talking to police officers for missing persons, so she enlisted my brother's "expertise".

Two minutes later, I get another call.

"C is out calling the police, looking for your father," she said.

"That's great. They'll find him, I know they will Mom."

"...I think he might have committed suicide."

I didn't know what to say. I don't even know whether I was quite awake enough right before she said it - but I certainly fully awake after it was said. I had been so calm, so collected just several miliseconds before and now, in an instant, I felt the lump of fear clump itself into the back of my throat, forcing me to forget to breathe and let all the effort of breathing go into creating hot stingy tears that wasted no time occupying my eyes.

"I really think that's what he did," she said, "He's been just so happy recently. Even your sister has noticed."

I couldn't tell you what I thought of that comment because I was too caught on what she had said prior to that. Suicide? My Dad had been extremely happy recently - but I figured it was due to what he kept saying - that he had finally found a decent medication that helped to keep a constant and steady control on his once fluctuating moods. He didn't feel so up and so down anymore. He felt like he had a better control over his daily situations that would have normally caught him in a frenzy in the past. I had been so happy for him - why couldn't she be? Why did that have to be a "sign" that he would take his life?

And suddenly, like a flashback from a movie, I was taken back to middle school, and even just two years ago. Saw the vision of my father collapsing onto his knees in the bedroom, my mother standing over him with a menacing glare, his body so limp, so lifeless...and then the look on his face - so incredibly draining just to look at the expression on his face. I remember feeling my heart sink into the pit of my stomach to the point that I felt the thump as it hit the inner foremost wall of my stomach cavity. And yet even with my belly full, I felt so empty and helpless at the sight of my father so weak like that. Weak beyond anything anyone should ever feel at anytime. I could hear his voice just as I did two years ago, "I can't do this anymore...I can't do this anymore. I just don't want to live anymore..."

I choked back the tears and caught myself from sinking deeper into the past.

"No, Mom. He was fine, he is fine. He was so happy the last time I saw him. We'll find him. I am coming home now. Just relax. Do not scare the kids," I said, pulling the covers off and stepping into the chill of the guest room.

That man who was the man I saw two years ago was not the same man I saw a few days ago singing along to Carrie Underwood on the radio, I kept thinking.

Despite my best efforts, once I hung up the phone with my Mom I felt the tears start to flow and just let them flow. If there is anything that I have learned in the past few months it is to let the emotions I have out when I have them - holding them in is only going to prolong and worsen the pain later on.

I text J, a little freaked out still. J agreed with me - that my Dad would be found, that he wouldn't do something like that, and that my Mom was probably just overreacting as always. For Dad's sake, I hoped to God she was just being overdramatic like always.

I woke up Gen-gen and he took me over to my parents' house, all the way supporting me as I kept talking out loud to myself about my parents, about how much they have always been flitty in the past but no matter what, even if it was against my better judgement, I was always there for them. I have always been there when they needed me...even if it wasn't reciprocated.

We drove up to my parents' house and Gen-gen offered to come in with me but I told him that he didn't have to worry about it - and could just go home and get some rest for the both of us. As we were pulling into the neighborhood, we past a police car exiting as we were entering.

Once I got to the front door, my brother called me to tell me they had found him. He was already at the house down in the basement, and my Mom was sitting in the kitchen.

I suddenly let out a deep breath. It felt like I had been holding my breath that entire time and just at that moment had finally let it all out.

Standing in that kitchen, I stood there looking from my Mom, to my older brother, and then all around at my little brothers and my younger sister and realized then that sometimes it's tragedy that brings us back to reality.

As the police escort arrived to at the front door, I didn't hesitate in giving my Dad the biggest never-ending hug I had ever given him, never wanting to let go.

1 comment:

goosey said...

So glad your dad is okay. Whew!! But where did he go all those hours?