My dad isn’t a chatty guy, in general. And he’s one of those people who hates to talk on the phone. I can recall many times when I’d be on the phone with my mom and she’d call out to him (usually from one part of the house to the other, loudly, as I come from a family of screamers) to say that I was on the phone and did he want to talk to me. His answer was almost always no, just tell me hello.
I didn’t take offense. That’s just the way he is.
I guess that’s one of the reasons why I don’t put much stock into whether a guy I meet online comes off as interesting on the phone (and why many times I just skip the phone thing altogether). Some people just don’t like to talk on the phone. I get it. I don’t think it has anything to do with whether they’re a good person or fun to spend time with.
Anyway, now I have to make an extra effort to have those phone conversations with my dad. He doesn’t live far, but I don’t see him every week. And if we never spoke on the phone, it would just be awful. So I call and force it.
Last night I called with the express purpose of talking with him about a kinda important family matter. It’s something that’s been weighing heavily on me. But we never got to talk about it.
About 10 minutes into the call he asked me about my “social life”. I knew he meant, was I dating anyone, but I tried to play dumb. I said that I’ve been busy with work but that I made time to get out and have fun. He then said, with a little stress in his voice, that he knew I was busy but hoped I was making time for a “social life”.
So I sighed loudly and said, “Dad, I don’t know what you want me to say. I was dating someone recently. For a little while. He was a very nice man. And I liked him and he liked me. But I wasn’t in love with him and he wasn’t in love with me. And we were never going to be in love with one another. And I’m 40 and he’s 48. At our ages we’re too old to waste time dating people we don’t love.”
I couldn’t believe I’d said that. To anyone, much less my dad.
And then he said the thing that kills me every time. That he was worried about me being alone. Being alone forever.
I told him that I understood and I appreciated that. But that I wasn’t the kind of person who could marry someone I didn’t love, or stay in a relationship that didn’t make me happy. That I didn’t have it in me. And that given the choice between being alone, forever, and marrying someone just for the sake of being married (like some of the people I know), I’d rather be alone.
And then, to my complete astonishment, he said. “I understand. I was married for 40 years to a very nice woman.”
And then I changed the subject.
Tags: family, guy, nice