Thanksgiving come and gone. It was quiet this year. We went from three families to just the one, me and my Dad. The introverts. It was sedate with a steady cooking cadence that felt like mastery over Side Dish Logistics. Nothing burned. Everything offering a warm comfort simultaneously.
Dad was chill, bouncing between football updates and asking me about house and home. He has always been delicate trying to discover me. I don’t get that given my lasting memory of his candor, usually born from a need for simplicity. But he did ask in a gentle way about things never before discussed.
"Don’t worry, I’m a weirdo too" was how he reassured me when asking about Shibari, about processing hemp, about my market for Bunny Rope. He appreciates my approach to my business as well as my plan, both entrenched in the simplicity he taught me. It resonated with him, with us both, when talking about dye chemistry and my inability to comprehend selling rope that could dye your hands just from picking it up. Do good things, carefully, not too quickly.
"As a parent, you always wonder what else you could or should have noticed." My tattoo, which he learned more about because others were less timid to discuss it with me, represented harder times in my life. Times when, like thanksgiving, it was just us bouncing between football and commentary but I had something more sharp than typical teenage angst trying to cut through my identity. He knew. He didn’t know. Who could have known what was really in my mind? I told him it wasn’t his fault, it was me and the dreadful people I surrounded myself with. But it was his advice that led me to the right college, the right light at the end of the tunnel, I told him.
"But it is unexpectedly gratifying to see what your kids become."
Left unsaid but as plain as the tears in both our eyes, the guilt over not acting more overtly.
Guilt is self inflicted. I know these things: Do good things, carefully, not too quickly. You let me be me how I needed to be me when I needed to be me.
Don’t worry, I’m a weirdo too.