I’ve crashed landed. Again. It’s not a trilogy or quadrology. Probably seven volumes in this series. It’s not all bad. I can’t call this iteration a tragedy even though the circumstances aren’t the best. Inspirational is perhaps more apropos.
This is the first time I’ve had an emergency landing with a family of my own. My wife, and as of seven months ago, a son. It’s not always easy, of course, but I feel lucky to once again become good friends with my parents. We do nearly everything together…eat, movies, date nights. There is no escape. Kind of like a zombie movie. Think Dawn of the Dead meets The Walking the Dead meets Shaun of the Dead.
Of course, the dynamics of my relationship with my Dad have changed over the years. When I was a kid and my family was at church, we would take up our own pew. We weren’t the Duggars–just five of us–but I had developed a reputation for being a handful. My dad was always focused during sermon time. He wanted to worship without distractions. My sisters and I would jockey to see who would get to sit next to him. A competition. Sibling rivalry at its holiest. With a level playing field, my kid sister would usually win. No one could say “no” to such a cute face. But I was born a nerd and was accustomed to experimentation. I quickly discovered that if I pinched my little sister, she’d cry and get relocated to my father’s lap. Higher ground, in a sense. But I’d get my coveted seat right next to my dad. The spanking after worship was worth it.
In my teen years, my family took a lot of road trip vacations. My experimenting continued: How many times do I have to tap on the window until Dad yells at me? Seven? Six? If I lean forward and put my finger into dad’s ear canal, will he be startled and jerk the van into the oncoming traffic? If I pinch my kid sister, will Dad really make good on this promise to pull the van over on the side of the highway in order to hand out some family justice? Again, the spankings were worth it. Even at a young age, I had an understanding that conflict is at the heart of an entertaining story. I’m not sure Dad realizes he was always my protagonist.
This go-around, I’m not torturing the old man
as much. We have gotten on the kick of sharing our favorite books with each other. I just finished reading Dick Francis’ Reflex. I now understand my dad more through his love of virtuous “everyman” characters. I’ve always seen my dad as a hero, but now I have insight into some of his inspiration. Dad recently finished Hugh Howey’s Wool based on my recommendation. He now understands a bit of my fierce determination to survive, and even more so after hearing his feedback on my own novel.
As I put my son to sleep at night, I can sense my son’s developing stubbornness as he fights his tiredness. I think he enjoys seeing me upset. In the morning, he’s in tears at the sight of me leaving for work. His whines and wails are music in my heart. Like father, like son.
*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave. It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement. Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.