I remember my mom asked, “How would you feel if your dad moved to San Francisco?” I just said something along the lines of, “I don’t care”, even though I did. I just had to keep my cool because my tween self was too awesome to show my real emotions. I think my mom knew I did care, maybe it was the tone of my voice, or maybe it was because you know, because she was my mom. But apparently my message wasn’t strong enough, because when I turned 12, my dad moved away to California.
He said it was for a job, and that finding a job in Michigan is really tough, but I was still hurt. He said that he planned to be gone for more than five years, and all I could think about then was that he was never gonna teach me how to drive, not going to be there when I graduate from High School, and never going to be around when things went bad. It hurt because your father is supposed to be there for you, and he wasn’t going to be.
It had been a year since my dad moved away, a year of skyping, talking, and playing video games twenty three hundred miles apart, when my dad came to visit. But not because of me, but because he was getting married to my stepmom. I was excited, because my stepmom is a super cool person, and my dad deserves to be with someone like her, but at the same time, this was awful. After they got married, they were both going to move to California. My dad leaving was one thing, but my stepmom was leaving too. I had almost thought that things couldn’t get any worse. During the wedding (which was extremely odd because I was the groom’s son), I tried my best to be joyous, even though I wanted to to hide in the corner and just eat the expensive wedding food. I felt a little better after the party died down however, because my dad then told me that I might be able to visit him and my stepmother in San Francisco next Summer.
About a month after the wedding (when my dad took a plane back to San Francisco, and my stepmom would soon follow), I spent some time with my dad’s family. My father’s parents, and most of his siblings were concentrated near Ann Arbor, so him being away wasn’t an excuse for me to not be social with my dad’s side of my family. So I’d occasionally visit my grandparents, and my dad’s brother and youngest sister would be there too, and we’d all bake pizza from scratch together, eat icecream, and maybe watch a movie that we rented from redbox when redbox was still a thing. We’d also facetime my dad, located in his miniscule apartment, but this time was different.
As we sat in the living room, with the laptop in front of us, and my father’s face on the screen, we all had chatted with him (I talked the least). Most of the conversations were filled with, “How the weather in California?”, with the response of, “Well, it’s better than in Michigan.”. But after everyone had said their part, he said he had something to tell me. Curious by what fascinating, and maybe secretive details he was going to speak of, I asked, “What is it?”. He said, “You won’t be able to visit me in San Francisco-”. Obviously, I wanted to know why, because at that moment I couldn’t possibly think of a reason why I couldn’t go to San Francisco, and why he had to disclose this unsatisfying information in front of everyone, but then I realized he hadn’t finished his sentence. “-because I’ll be moving back to Ann Arbor!”. Well I had so many questions. Questions such as, “Wait, isn’t your wife planning to move to San Francisco right now?”, and, “But can we still go to San Francisco?”. I didn’t say any of those things, because I didn’t want to come off too excited, so instead, I let out a confident, “Cool”. I think everyone knew that I felt more than the word, “cool”, so my father was content with my reaction.
As it turns out, my dad put in an application for a job back in Michigan around the time of the wedding, but he didn’t know if it would get accepted, and he didn’t want to get anyone's hopes up. However, he did tell my stepmom, because if she was halfway through packing up her entire living space, and then told to put everything back, she would be pretty frustrated. But after my dad moved back we still talked, and we still played video games, he just wasn’t in San Francisco.