I arrived for dinner and it seemed like old times. My parent’s were always welcoming and fun. Dad was in the kitchen prepping the baked potato and seasoning the steaks. Mom was setting the table as usual and doing a little dusting on the side. Sometimes I wondered where she got all her energy from, another gene that I felt I didn’t inherit. There was music playing in the background that I recognized as Mom’s favourite; Engelbert Humperdinck.
‘Well, you look a lot better now, then this morning’, Dad said with a grin on his face. ‘Would you like a beer?’
‘Ah, funny’ I smirked. My Dad, yes he was the joker, especially when it came to hangovers. ‘I’m okay, thanks!’ I said.
As for BBQ’ing, Dad was always the grill master; Mom never used the BBQ. She was always frightened when it came to propane or gas of any sort. She had an electric stove in every home, and if one of the homes we moved into had gas, it would be changed immediately. In retrospect, I get it. Her dad killed himself by sticking his head in a gas oven, but at this time in my life, I just thought it was one of her little idiosyncrasies.
We sat down, Dad said a little prayer, and we began to eat. Following dinner while Mom cleared the table, Dad and I stayed playing our game of ‘devils advocate’. Looking back now, I say ‘game’, but at the time he loved making my brain hurt. He loved talking politics and would constantly bring up some newsworthy story to discuss. He would always be either for or against a subject and of course, I would take the other side. And to be perfectly honest, sometimes I wouldn’t even believe in what I was saying, but had to come up with a defense anyway. This banter would go on for hours some times, but in the end, it was just a way of bonding and having a little fun.
That night Dad cut it short, ‘I’m a little tired’ he said to me. ‘I think I will turn in’.
‘Okay I should get going anyway.’ I said getting up from the table.
Mom popped her head around the corner and said ‘you know, you can stay here tonight, your bedroom is still the same’.
‘Thanks, but I think I will go to the apartment’ I said tilting my head.
‘G’night Paula, see you soon’ Dad said with a wink as he made his way up the stairs.
Next thing I know, Mom makes the psst sound and waves me into the kitchen.
Whispering and looking concerned she said ‘I just wanted to tell you that your Dad was up sick to his stomach most of last night’.
‘Really? Dad’s never sick.’ I said with a frown. In fact, the only ailment Dad ever complained about was his sinus headaches.
‘Maybe it was something he ate’ I said.
‘It could be, but your Dad is also very tired recently’, she continued, ‘but then again it could be my over active imagination’.
‘Yes, it could be Mom’ I said with a small grin. ‘I’m going to head out now, but I’ll talk to you tomorrow’.
‘Okay, but don’t forget to call me when you get home, 2 rings, and I’ll know you are safe’ she said.
‘Oh Mom’ I shook my head ‘I’m 25 years old; I live a few blocks away, really? Do I have to?’
‘Yes, you do, when you have kids you will understand’ she said rigidly.
‘All right, all right’ I said waving my hands and making my way to the door. ‘I’ll call. Goodnight’
I drove the 3 minutes to my building, walked into the apartment, picked up the phone, dialed Mom and let it ring 2x, then hung up.
Considering the last 48 hours, this night turned out nice and relaxing. Both of my parents never brought up the subject of work, or lack there-of, it was just a lovely visit.
Except, Dad sick to his stomach? I kept replaying those words over and over again in my head. That was not like Dad. He was the strong one in the family. This time I hoped Mom was over reacting, although, something in my stomach felt otherwise.