Father-Son Bonding

I called my dad on his birth­day this week. After the divorce I would nev­er call him, spe­cial occa­sion or not, sim­ply because I need­ed to dis­tance myself from the sit­u­a­tion. He did call me on mine last year though, which reestab­lish­es a sort of prece­dence and rit­u­al, and he actu­al­ly thanked me for the call.

We made the usu­al small talk, about work and home.

Mercedes Benz SLK 55 AMG 2006

He told me he bought a car: a 2006 Mercedes Benz SLK 55 AMG hard-top con­vert­ible with 18″ rims and 7‑speed-auto­mat­ic trans­mis­sion. He’s going to keep the Beemer for win­ter dri­ving. It filled my heart with qui­et joy when he said I could dri­ve it the next time I vis­it­ed him. Not so much because he was let­ting me (for I was always allowed to dri­ve the Sportline 300CE while liv­ing at home), but because I could tell in his voice that he want­ed me to try it.

I asked him if there’s any his­to­ry of col­orec­tal can­cer in the fam­i­ly, which the doc­tor want­ed to know at my last appoint­ment, to which my dad answered, thank­ful­ly, no. He shared with me his own health con­cerns, the med­ical terms of which he only knows in Chinese. These are things I avoid ask­ing about when I vis­it him, as he pops some pills from a bot­tle kept with the dish­es in the kitchen, and I real­ize that I’m learn­ing more about my dad than ever. It’s not so much out of a need for pri­va­cy or avoid­ance of embar­rass­ment, but sim­ply out of con­ve­nience, as these top­ics would nev­er get brought up.

It’s strange to bond with him in this way, only after so many years of leav­ing home.

I remem­ber him try­ing to teach me pho­tog­ra­phy when I was younger, but he soon lost inter­est, in both pho­tog­ra­phy and me1. Maybe it’s the dis­tance that makes us appre­ci­ate each oth­er more, and it would­n’t be the same if we lived in the same city.

In a way, I’m glad to have the rela­tion­ship now, and I’m able to for­get that I’ve nev­er had it for most of my life.

  1. As such, all my pho­tog­ra­phy is self-taught, aside from one trick used to zoom a lens towards the sub­ject so that the edges are blurred that he showed me at the Statue of Liberty. []


  1. I find this sweet even though it’s pret­ty much about cars, which I would nor­mal­ly find annoy­ing.

    • I find car talk to be pret­ty annoy­ing too, but com­ing from my dad it’s so much more…enter­tain­ing. It makes me won­der what kind of crazy stuff I’ll do to try to recap­ture my youth when I’m his age.

  2. You’ll prob­a­bly die your hair pink…

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