I said, as Dad walked out of his bedroom yesterday.
Instead of being angry like you would think a person would be if their daughter said something like that to them, he laughed.
You see, Dad is getting out of my country. He is going to Guatemala. He used to do this annually on my birthday, as a way of subtly telling me how much I mean to him, but he switched to the winter when Mom put her foot down and told him she was sick of him coming home between trips just long enough for her to wash, iron, fold, and pack his clothing.
I can see how that would get on someones nerves.
So Dad is leaving tonight, having just finished giving a funeral service moments ago (he prepared it over the last three days, because he is good like that. He works fast). And I, his daughter, get the immense pleasure of driving him to Warsaw and hurling his luggage onto the ground in the parking lot outside of Hands of Hope. Then, when he gets out to retrieve it, I get to drive away at high speeds, laughing as he fades into the distance in my rear view mirror.
That will make up for all the times he forgot me, not to mention all the times he abandoned Paul, after school or church functions. In your face, old man.
Dad and I have a special relationship.
When he had his second heart thing, the one that might have but might not have been a heart attack, I spent an hour in the hospital with him as we exchanged insults back and forth. We are cruel to each other beyond reason, and we both think it is hilarious. I call him a fat old man and he calls me a snot-nosed teenager, though I have left teen-dom behind and he is only getting older. I untie his shoes; he eats my cookies without permission. We laugh hysterically as we do this, and onlookers think we have the most messed up, deranged relationship on the face of the planet.
His church friends, at the hospital with him years ago, thought I was being terrible to him as I made fun of how his heart rate changed with the topic of conversation. I told him I wouldn't be happy until his pulse sped up when I walked in the room. They thought I was trying to kill him. I told them I was saving that for later.
Dad has thrown me in ponds, he has pursued me with the riding lawnmower, blades down (though I have done that last thing too). We have more fun together than I can express.
But on the outside, we look like total jerks. We're happy jerks, but if you can't grasp our brand of detrimental Arrested Development-style harassment, you think we are evil people (I have the right to be evil, this man makes fun of me from the pulpit as a lesson to members of the congregation. Imagine that during adolescence). So I thought I would do my best to explain it.
Dad thinks he is funny. That is how this whole mess started. He thinks he is funny, and he teases people. Unfortunately, starting this teasing with a young child causes her to retaliate. And since I think I am funny too, I retaliated in kind. So Dad created his own monster, a monster that lives in his house, eats the food he wants to eat (or buys good food and hides it from him), and uses his car so she doesn't have to buy gas for hers.
We seem weird from the outside, but I love my dad. And even though I only see him about three minutes a day, I will miss him in a strange way. Kind of like the way I miss my car when its getting fixed, even though I know when I get it back, it will rain on me again and I will almost get killed once a week because people don't see me where I am, so close to the ground.
Come to think of it, it is Dad's fault I have that car in the first place. What a complete and total toad...