What does my dad do? A bottle of whiskey sits gracefully. Surrounded and embraced with platters of decadent foods in a blanket of foil. A prized collection of special occasion glasses filled with ice cubes had already been prepared. The longtable was dressed for the occasion too, in a spotless white cloth. The room would roar in laughter from time to time, accompanied with that beautiful sound of chatter from multiple conversations. The bottle of whiskey cracks open and the glasses has been filled and handed out. Hours race by and the room is still blessed with that beautiful sound.
What does my dad do? The whiskey bottle is in the usual place, half full. Dinner is served, the white cloth has been replaced with a clean one. The table is surrounded by three seats but only two has found a partner. Mum’s phone buzzes and buzzes as she’s about to have her first bite.
“Again?” Mum says. “But it’s the third time this week.”
Mum takes a few deep breaths and returns the phone to her ear.
“Okay. Yep. Yes… yes… I know. I’ll leave it in the usual place. Bye.”
What does my dad do? The ice cubes rattle in the glass as it dances in a pool of aged whiskey. The platters are nowhere to be seen, instead, the bottle is accompanied by a lone laptop. Outstanding fees… amount due… deadlines… tuition… the words stood out from the illuminated laptop screen. I can only assume these words are terrible words as it causes my dad discomfort, eyes closed and massaging the centre of his forehead. One last gulp before bed.
What does my dad do? The table trembles from the very magnitude of clashing voices. The whiskey bottle topples and spills all over. Fumes from cigarettes encapsulated the enclosed space. Those prized glasses shatters one by one in the midst of two personalities crashing together. I recall the same old lecture, scolding me time and time again for leaving the door to the outside open. Only this time, the door is left open and I’m helping my dad pick up the shards of glass pieces on the floor.
What does my dad do? Misshapen cigarette butts, empty whiskey bottles and dinner from Tuesday surrounded the last whiskey bottle. A red college cup is clasped tightly with the ice cubes forgotten. What’s left of the whiskey is poured in with nobody around to say when. The table is stained and scarred from many long nights. The laptop opens up with its bright light, blinding eyes that already struggle to stay open. Those migraines were gone, the forehead stress had disappeared, instead, were replaced with gouging tears. As he sat there sobbing, a broken shell of a man, I hugged my dad tightly and told him everything is going to work out.
What does my dad do? My dad provides. My dad persists. My dad does it for me.