Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Another installment: Meet the family

Sometimes I think back to the crazy that I pulled some truly wonderful people into, and it's hard to believe that: 1. my life was actually that out of control, and 2. that I was that cavalier about inviting others along for the ride.

March 2, 2001

We don’t exactly have a plan, but we head for a strip of motels on Route 7 in Falls Church. This was where my dad was last time, and since he didn’t take the car, it seems likely that he could be there. And we need to feel like we are doing something.

We have only been together a month, and here he is, driving me around to find my dad.

My brother calls almost immediately and says, “There was a charge on the card at 4:15.” He gives me the name and address of a motel in Falls Church. We are very close.

We pull up right out front, and I jump out. The reception desk is just inside the front door, and Ben joins me just as I am telling a now-terrified young woman that I know my dad checked in at 4:15 because there is a charge on his credit card. He is going to try to kill himself, and I need the key to his room.

People never quite know what to do with this information.

She is flustered, and her hands shake as she picks up a sheet of paper. Everything is happening too slowly and I am considering walking behind the desk and taking over when a very large police officer comes in and asks for the same information. She gives us the room number and is fumbling to find another key. She is on the verge of tears.

Ben, the police officer, and I take the elevator up one floor. The doors open and we walk very fast, so although Ben is moving as fast as he can on crutches, he lags behind. We get to Dad’s door, and the officer pounds and booms, "Open up!" I put a hand up to hold him back. “Please,” I say.

I knock and say, “Daddy? Daddy, it’s me! Can you open the door?”

At this point a clearly inebriated guy in the next room has stepped out into the hall to see what’s going on, and our giant officer orders him back into his room. He complies without hesitation.

Dad opens the door, wearing nothing but a white undershirt and underwear.

He says, “Hi, sweetheart!” It is clear that he is seriously fucked up.

By now Ben has gotten to the door, and I say, “Dad, this is Ben. Ben, this is my dad.” Ben holds out his hand and says, “Nice to meet you, sir.”

Dad shakes his hand warmly and invites us in. “Come on in, kids! Would you like something to drink?”


Tell me about it.