I posted earlier this week about my concerns that my father may be suffering from a brain tumor, or may have had some kind of mental break and gone full-on crazy. The evidence continued throughout the evening.
People who know my father are probably going to call “bullshit” on this, but I swear it’s completely true.
After leaving the insanity that was my father’s front yard, we went to go find a place to have a drink or two and pass the time. My return visits to Central Florida are pretty routine — my dad and I almost always go out for beer and nachos at a sports pub near his house — but we had to mix it up a little this trip based on what was open. We discovered a new Mexican restaurant that dad had been curious about, so Sal and I accompanied my dad inside for a margarita and some chit-chat.
What happened inside the restaurant continues to astound me, days later.
For three hours, we sat there. We had sipped margaritas, munched on nachos, and had a REMARKABLE time. My father was charming as can be, telling jokes, making eye contact, asking questions and paying attention to the answers, and in general being an absolute delight.
And he wasn’t doing these things with me — he was doing them with Sal.
That’s right, my father, the retired Army officer who has often been, well, less than accepting of gays, was laughing it up with Sal like they were old friends. Prior to today they had barely exchanged a dozen words with each other, but watching them together on Christmas Eve, you’d never know it. Dad was completed engaged in a lively and friendly conversation with his son’s boyfriend.
I seriously sat there and stared at them, dumbfounded. At one point I took my drunk ass to the bathroom to work on my composure, so I wouldn’t get all teary-eyed in front of my dad. I just couldn’t believe the scene that was unfolding in front of me, and it WASN’T because he was drunk — this started before the first beverage was poured.
We were very sad to leave, but had other plans. Still, I sat in the car for a minute before driving off, processing my amazement. I’m telling you, he’s either terminally ill and trying desperately to get into Heaven (as Bill Cosby would say) or there is a brain tumor pressing against the portion of his brain that controls social interaction.
That, or I was a better boy this year than I thought, and Santa decided to skip the gifts and bring a full-on Christmas miracle.