"Two of us wearing raincoats
in the sun,
You and me chasing paper
on our way back home,
We're on our way home
we're going home..."-The Beatles
Many years ago, we sat in rented room, back in North Carolina, my father and I. We were half a world away from anyone who sincerely meant anything to us us other than one another. As the rented telly showed images of Drew Carey and Colin Mochrie doing improv, we were making phone calls. I had just left message for my daughter, not excepting a return call, but looking forward to seeing her shortly after getting back. I was waiting to phone Sabina, back then, at the time, she was still engaged in a dance with the dead for money.
My father, was speaking with my mother. And he was giving shit. Such is the way of parents' relationship. Rare as hen's teeth are the times that I'd heard either of them admit their amore for one another. In my family, if one is not fucked with, than one is not liked.
"I just want you to know, I don't miss you at all," my father said to mother, something I've said to Sabina once or twice in the years we've been together, when we've been separated by time and miles. "In fact, I am so glad to be out here so I don't have to deal with you."
And if that was not just about the sweetest thing I've ever heard in my life...
As my father and I were coming back from our journey, exhausted, dirty, hallucinating, he was speaking to my mother on the phone again. A badlands sun had been up about an hour. I half-awake listened to him go off about how to deal with flat tire.
"I reckon we need to hurry back, son," my father said to me. "Your fucking mother's falling apart without me."
True words. Say something against that, I'll not only call you liar, but get downright indignant. It was the other utterly sweet thing I heard back then. A confirmation. My parents were devoted to one another. Retardedly so.
My sister and were talking, over a dinnertime meeting all those years ago. It was decided then, our mother needed to die first. Twistedly funny how that played out. It wasn't a matter of meanness, but she wouldn't have been able to cope without our father. It was like that. My father, love and admire him as I do, just got cranky, perhaps, sometimes even quite unbearable, without my mother, but it's somehow been different.
And yet, that strange and wonderful relationship-my mother once being strange and my father being wonderful-is something I still strive for. My ultimate love story, even though I couldn't be romantic on a bet and anyone who'd tell you different is either daft or trying to sell something. Love, hate, apathy, for almost thirty-eight years, until my mother died, my parents had made it through it all. And my father still does sincerely love my mother, even when he slyly jokes about chasing women, in case anyone was wondering. He might not say it outright, but I caught him that one day, as we set out for North Carolina for the last time, saying into the phone;
"I love you. I'll be home soon..."
"You and I have memories
Longer than the road that stretches out ahead-
We're going home
better believe it..."