This Goddamn Vacation, Or a Vacation in Colors; pt.4

Walking into my parent’s house, I looked around and dragged in what I could (they moved here only a year ago…I want to drag inside what I know…what I can feel or relate to…)…and I see a girl on the couch that I know, somehow.

Oh, no.



The girl on the couch is Whitney King.

I “dated” her in high school. I was a senior. She was a freshman.

18>14, right?

Why is she here?

She lives in South Carolina. Mom thought it would be “nice” if she came…why, I don’t know.

At this point, I AM FREAKING OUT.

On my rigtht are the spawns of my sister…they are precious and the only kids (save for one other) that I will protect to the end of my life…and then there’s Knucks (who I dated in Chicago for six days and we had a freak out session on the train platform where I left here in tears…and I had no regrets until I actually GOT TO KNOW HER…Heavens, Jason…you are a lucky man) who has never met my parents and Whitney whom I haven’t seen in 10+ years.

So what was the conversation like?


It was one of the few times that I wish these girls (my nieces) were going to misbehave…just so SOMETHING WOULD HAPPEN.

We ate. We didn’t talk. Knucks left (I wished that I could go with her). I retired to talking to my brother-in-law. It’s weird, but being the last member of the family, I should feel that he’s an outsider of sorts, right? No. He’s the only one I actually talk to. Everyone else says nothing. I loved that he was there. I have something.

Then they left.

My parents went to bed when they left.

I made a bed for myself in the “den”. A lazyboy housed my loins that night. I went to sleep to Invite Them Up. It was a CD that I, weirdly, couldn’t find in Chicago but happened upon it in South Carolina. While listening I heard footsteps outside the door. I was worried that my nieces, or maybe just one of them, were outside the door. The language on the CD is not for the two year old that says “ma’am” and “sir” and dresses up for church every Sunday like it’s Easter. Open the door. Nobody. I hear it again. Nothing. I turn the CD off to go to sleep. I keep hearing it. Nothing. I ask mom in the morning. She doesn’t know what I’m talking about.

I go outside to smoke. The morning dew smells like magic and I blame it on the mountains. The air is crisp, for lack of a better word…how about crunchy. Burnt but tasty. The cigarette feels like heaven and tastes like shit. Its the cheap ones from the Karton King off the highway Knucks and I took to get here.

Looking around, I want a guitar. Or a punch in the face.

The plan today is to visit dad at his new job, Lowe’s, and then out to lunch with my sister and the glorious girls. I planned on taking dad’s picture. It would make me smile to see him in a service job. I’ve always blamed his small-mindedness on the fact that he spent his days in an office and was never around people of all kinds. We drove over there.

“There’s his car,” mom said. It sat in the back row of the lot with four to five empty spaces on both sides. He likes to take care of his vehicles. “That’s where he eats his lunch everyday.”

“Where?” I thought of the grass embankment.

“In his car.”

“Why? Don’t they have a breakroom here?” I pictured my dad eating bologna, looking at nothing, not even the wet spots his tears are swelling on his lunch bag.

“He likes to be alone. He doesen’t know his coworkers.”

We walked in and found him in his section. Power Tools. He was leaning against a shelf holding four different radial saws. Looking at the floor. Tennis shoes swollen with sore ankles and flat feet. Fallen arches.

“Hey, dad.”

“Hey, buddy.”

He was exhausted. He looked at me with blue eyes. My blue eyes. I always thought his were green. Or hazel. I thought the tears would hit me…like a summertime Bronx fire hydrant. Like the shitty Santana music video. Rob Matchbox singing about the half naked girls who were dancing in the streams of my father’s tears. I could kill him for it. Rob, not my father. I kept my camera in my pocket.

Walking out, I looked at the floor. I looked at his coworkers and tried to convey, with my eyes, that if they ever made fun of my father then I would kill them. Actually kill them.

We passed a truck with a new washer and dryer in the back. Mom told me that dad helped a young couple put their new washer and dryer into their truck a few days ago. I wanted to kill them too.

Mom drove us over to Ruby Tuesday’s to meet my sister. I forced her to sit outside with me while I smoked. I asked her what she thought of him working there. “We need the money.”

“Hmmm…,” I looked down at my cigarette. Goddamn. Goddamn. Goddamn. Goddamn.

We went in and had lunch and then home. I napped. I wanted to sleep, wake up, smoke, and then sleep. My body wouldn’t let me.

The night has only just begun…

…to get bad.

3 Responses to “This Goddamn Vacation, Or a Vacation in Colors; pt.4”
  1. RJ says:

    I’ve wanted to kill Rob for years, now. Especially during a particularly awful time when I couldn’t stop crying or sleep or think straight when I actually thought I might relate — I’m not crazy. I’m just a little unwell.

    Fucking kill that dick.

  2. RJ says:

    PS: Strong work.

  3. sealegs says:

    i love how this is coming out in essays.
    i tried to call you from the horse track. it was a real tom waits gesture i thought you;d apprecriate.

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