CURTIS IS PARKED in our driveway with the engine running, waiting on Rachel. He still drives the same ‘70s Mercedes he’s had forever, one of those real boxy models that looks like a marginally-fancier Volvo. Something Anwar Sadat might’ve driven into Sinai, blasting Zeppelin. Probably nice in its prime, with its clean lines and camel leather interior. Now it just looks like shit, its sides freckled with rust spots and its bumper obscured by decaying “Obama/Biden ‘08” stickers. Curtis looks like shit too, like he hasn’t seen the business end of a razor or a comb since the election.
Dad’s at the window, keeping tabs on the inactivity. He has the curtains draped over his body such that only his eyes are showing, like he’s wearing a burqa.
--This prick. Still doesn’t have the courtesy to come to the door, you know what I mean?
Dad forgets that Curtis used to come to the door all the time. Used to walk through the door, actually. Used to show up at the house with doggie bags full of hummus and falafel and couscous and shawarma after his shift at Taste of Lebanon ended, to watch TiVo’d Top Chef with us. Used to freak out over Mom’s signed copy of The Kink Kontroversy and make her tell him for the millionth-fucking-time how she basically stalked Ray Davies at O’Hare to get it. Used to be welcome around the old Holmgren household until last Saturday afternoon, when Dad’s closing fell through and he came home early to find him and Rachel using the utility tub in the basement as a gravity bong.
--He’s just gonna sit there. God, what a prick. Nate, don’t ever turn into a prick like this guy. Okay? So long as you live.
I could point out the obvious to Dad, that he’s a grown man hiding behind a sheer-ass curtain. That Curtis can totally see his outline and probably thinks he’s the pussiest father to ever swear, on his mother’s grave, never to let his only daughter fraternize with a fuck-up like him ever again. I could do that, but what’s the point? I’m the one that has to live with him.
--Dad, seriously. Find something else to do.
It’s Rachel, and she’s dusting her glossy black bangs with baby powder in front of the hallway mirror. After smoothing some errant strands around her temples into submission, she grabs her keys and a pack of Orbit off an endtable and leaves for the night, slamming the front door closed behind her. It sounds like an M-80 going off, it’s so loud.
--There she goes. Off with that prick....read more (2/2)
Dad’s voice is the most pathetic sound in the world, puny and beat the hell up. I know it's not the weed bust that's killing him. He went to college in Vermont, for chrissakes. It's the fucking. Rachel fucks Curtis, of all people. A Moraine Valley Community College dropout that looks like one of the Oak Ridge Boys and still wears a chain wallet. If Rachel has to fuck somebody, Dad would much prefer it be a class valedictorian or a starting power forward or an electrician's apprentice or an Indian kid with impeccable penmanship or even just someone with his own checking account. Somebody going places. But no. Rachel, his only daughter, fucks Curtis. Rachel fucks Curtis because whether Dad wants to own up to it or not, Rachel has a hell of a lot more in common with him than she does somebody going places. Rachel fucks Curtis because that's The Way of the World. Rachel fucks Curtis and there's absolutely nothing Dad or Ray Davies or Anwar Sadat's ghost can do about it.
--There she goes.
Curtis throws the shitty Mercedes in reverse and almost backs into our basketball hoop because he’s busy kissing Rachel and not looking in the rearview. When he cuts my sister loose just long enough to straighten the car out, he smiles at Dad, or Dad’s outline in the curtain, or whatever part of Dad, seen or unseen, he’s telling to fuck off in this moment.
--There she goes.