Song For My Father

The next day, the day after my birthday party, I woke up. Of course I woke up. But I didn’t know what time it was. I have terrible eyesight, I don’t know if I’ve told you that, and have to grope around my side table for my glasses. I was hung over and didn’t bother. I went to the bathroom, scrubbed the make up off my face, brushed my teeth, and returned to bed to find my glasses, open my laptop, and check the train schedule.

There. Much better. Okay. I could catch the 1:45 train home and surprise my dad for Father’s Day. I’d get there by 3:30. Not bad. The only problem was I had a massive hangover, was extraordinarily dehydrated, and it was 1:20.

Fuck. Fuck. FUCK! I bolted out of bed, threw on a dress that was in a pile of “birthday party reject outfits”, threw make up, a book, and my phone in my handbag and ran out my building.

I jogged to First Avenue and jumped into a cab. “How quickly can you get to Grand Central?” I pleeded. It was 1:30. “Can you do it in ten minute?”

“I never tried,” the driver said. “Hold on.”

We flew across 23rd, narrowing avoiding a nun. Straight up Park Avenue, I screamed and closed my eyes. I swear to god he almost rear-ended an ambulance.

But I made it. I ran into Grand Central, had enough time to buy a ticket and run on the last car. The train pulled out. I was swearing and sweating and panting.

The rest of the story isn’t very interesting. My dad was delighted to see me. We had steak at his bar/restaurant and teased my brother. My grandparents were there, too, and my mom took the wine away from my grandma.

My dad has two favorite expressions he’s passed on. One he reserves as the last thing he says to me on New Year’s Eve: “See you on the other side.” The other is his everyday go-to. He says it when he works ten hours and then goes to a concert, or when he wakes up early and has to bolt. Because some things are worth it. Like he says: “You sleep when you’re dead.”

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