No, no, that sounds too forced. I've never greeted him with a 'hello, dad!' in my entire life, why would I start now, thirty-something years after our first ever greeting?
"Hey Dad, how have you been?"
No, no, that just sounds too nervous. I didn't even give him a chance to respond to the initial 'hey dad'! It has to sound more natural.
Be natural, dammit! Act like you normally do!
'Excuse me sir, but would you like to order something to drink now or will you be waiting for someone else?"
"Yes, I'm actually waiting for someone else, thank you. He should be here any minute now... Actually, you know what? I'll have a dry martini. I mean, why the hell not, right?"
"Sure sir, right away."
Ok, just relax. You haven't seen the old man for a while, but it's not like he's forgotten you. Ha!, that's actually sort of funny... I wonder if he has actually ever remembered I exist. I mean, if he did he sure as hell never showed it. Yeah, I really wonder if he ever did... And if he didn't, why the hell not? What did I do to not be remembered? Other people seem to remember me, even like me if I had to guess. But not him, the one of two people who were sort of supposed to like me unconditionally?
"Your martini, sir."
Ah, right on time... Ok, have a sip, enjoy the taste for a few seconds and then slowly swallow it. Yeah, that's right. Now relax, dammit! Relax!
He should be here any time now. Of course he's late... I wonder what he would do if I was the one who was late. Probably suggest we try again in a month or two? Or perhaps he would just leave it open, promising to get back to me once he had a better idea of what his calendar looked like... He has always been so busy... I could never imagine a retiree could be that busy... Makes me wonder if I want to retire myself, it must be really hard work.
Maybe I'd never see him again - particularly if he doesn't quite remember me in the first place.
"Hi Dad! Remember me? I'm your son! Yes, yes, I am... Yes, with that woman! No, no, not that one, the first one you mentioned. Yes, that one, that's mom..."
Drunk already? Your tolerance for alcohol is just bizarrely low nowadays. Control yourself, dammit! You're fine. You're a grown man and you have never done anything wrong. You've always been a good person. You're honest and you have nothing to feel guilty about. If anyone needs to be nervous it's him. Yeah, maybe he's nervous I might finally have the guts to say some of the things I always wanted to say to his face? Maybe that's why he's late... Maybe he fears me as a grown man. As an adult.
Maybe to avoid an unpleasant conversation he might even preemptively apologize. Yeah, that would be smart of him actually... He would say something along the lines of "I just wanted to say I'm very sorry for not being the father you deserved to have. I'm not perfect, and I know it, and I wish I could go back in time and undo some of my actions."
And of course I'd say "Hey dad, what are you talking about? What matters is that the two of us are here now, together. Let's put the past behind us, everything will be fine." And we would hug. For a long time. Just hug.
Shit, I think i see him. Ok, you're good, look natural. Boy, he looks good for his age. A bit fragile since I've last seen him, but there he is: my dad! No tears, dammit. Control yourself. Stand up, greet him as you would anyone else. Act naturally. Don't force it.
Ok, here he comes.
© Carlos Frederico Rosenwald, 2018. All rights reserved.