Twilight boat fishing for red rock cod, 2005.
I do remember the positive times with my father. Dad loved to fish. I thought I loved fishing as well, but I really just loved impressing my father. I found that out about myself after I noticed how much I loved my excuse to sit under the deck after I threw up over board. But, I still loved the swell and fall of standing on a fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean.
Dad was very good at being impressed. He loved to praise his daughters and his favorite psychedelic rock musicians. I have heard “This is one of the top ten songs in history” a few too many times for one genre. I always enjoyed, though, hearing that a school assignment was ‘spot on’ or ‘genius’.
Dad loved to share things with his family. He passionately shared his love for psychedelic rock and fishing with my sister and I. Dad worked hard in order to take our family on vacations and make us fresh caught fish dinners, pulled out of the ocean that night. He loved the art of gift giving, especially when it gave him a reason to shop out of the Smithsonian catalog.
Then, Dad’s qualities would become magnified. We went on more vacations, listened to more psychedelic rock. We ate fresh caught lobster every day for a week once. But, before I could get scared, life became quiet again as Dad slept.
The pendulum swung a few more times with relative peace between episodes until 2016. Dad snapped in half and regrew a newer and less reasonable version of himself in his place. The music, figuratively and literally, became a whole lot louder and a whole lot worse. Fleetwood Mac and their contemporaries blasted the house at inappropriate decibels from the time he woke to the time he decided to sleep. My mom’s life became a poorly written soap opera with the lead antagonist played by Chevy Chase. The episode has lasted so long; I have confused my real Dad with this present day maniac who took over his mind and body.
My father is slowly dying in front of us. He declined farther than I have ever seen and has lost more than ever before. This new man is not my father. This new man harasses my sister over childish things that did not exist before he thought of them. This new man does not even bother to harass me. I want my Dad back.
When I hear the latest and the greatest from my mom, I don’t feel much more than irritable amusement. After our conversations, I feel fine. On the surface I thought I was unaffected. I did not cry or yell. I felt dull. I even felt good in other places of my life. Work was easier. Telling customers about our promos and helping them find the right high heeled shoe distracted me well.
I was sinking, though. School got harder. My 8:00 a.m. class became impossible to attend, as did my Friday class. Next thing I knew, I skipped entire days of class. I got to the point in my semester I only found value in attending my 5:30 p.m. class. I petitioned to withdraw from my other classes on terms of medical depression. My petition did not pass. I failed 75% of my classes in Fall 2016.
This is not the first time my mood affected my education. In 2012, I withdrew entirely from my previous university, San Jose State, when I became depressed. I had a very rough summer and I lost several friends at school. I slept a lot and could not do enough work to pass the six credit hours I was taking.
Dad picked me up from San Jose and drove me back to Oceanside. We yelled at and laughed with each other the whole way home. Sometimes my dad took good care of me. I want my dad back.