Friday, September 16, 2005

Circling Ben Gurion, so to speak—trying to avoid the obvious (part 5)

Let’s go back to that “Bad Daughter” post, shall we?

Actually, I’d rather not, which is why I’ve been avoiding posting this in the first place.

I’m no good at maintaining long-distance relationships. Not only have I done a terrible job of it with my parents, I’ve done a bad job with both brothers, too. And I scarcely know my nieces and nephew.

Mom’s coping about as well as can be expected, considering the fact that she has to do most of the thinking for two. Fortunately, she has a social worker whom she sees on a regular basis. She has the social worker’s cell phone number, too, just in case.

What can I say about Dad? First, he asked me why I was going back to the U.S. “What do you have left there?” Clearly, he was mistaking me for my ex-sister-in-law, who has no siblings and whose parents have both been gone for well over 15 years. (My youngest niece is named after N.’s mother.) Fortunately, that memory glitch lasted for only about a minute. But then, to make matters more interesting, there was that incident in front of the Tali School. “You went to school there, didn’t you?” It was weird enough being mistaken for N., but being mistaken for one of her daughters was even weirder. At least N. is of my generation.

But the saddest thing for me was the silence in my parents’ apartment. My father, who’s obviously much better at listening to music and doing something else at the same time that I am, almost always had music going. Classical, Broadway, Golden Oldies (the Barry Sisters singing “Bei Mir Bist du Schein"), Big Band, it didn’t matter. (I developed such a fondness for the Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman bands that, when we had a “D.J.” playing folk dance records at our wedding reception and wanted to play something for some of the older folks, I had Dad bring some Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman records with him.) Let me correct myself, which is, I guess, the point of this post: My father was much better at listening to music . . . Not anymore. He still sings to himself. But he can’t listen to music anymore. It’s all noise to him now. He didn’t want to listen to CDs. He wasn’t crazy about hearing me singing, either. He just wants peace and quiet.

What’s the rush? He’ll get that, soon enough.

As I said, I took a hit.


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