I've learned, generally speaking, not to answer my phone when my dad calls after nine at night. If he's not drunk, he'll leave a message and I'll call him back. If he is, he'll leave a message and I'll call him the next day. It's just too frustrating to try to talk to him when he's been in the whiskey--I never know what to expect. It could be drunken angry ranting about my mother; it could be sad, bitter remorse about her. It could be rambling about how much he loves me; it could be rambling about how he's so worried about me because I'm fat/broke/single/unprepared for the fact that he'll "be dead soon". It could be technology questions it would be difficult to navigate him through sober; it could be anything.

But tonight, I accidentally answered it. And he was drunk, and I got a little bit of all the above except the technology thing. It started out with him apologizing for letting me leave his house last night without telling me he loves me. Then it was he's proud of me, and wants me to just relax and not worry about this school thing. Then it was tell my mother to do something obscene to herself, he's getting me a new car and it'll be better than anything she could do for me--in a sad tone of voice--and he'll have my Mustang ready for me. Then he lectured me about being fat and "unhealthy". Etc.

Basically it was par for the drunken course. Luckily, I've finally gotten the knack of not letting it get to me. More or less. It's frustrating to try to tell him, again, that I'm not unhealthy. It's frustrating trying to steer him away from the subject of my mother. And it's frustrating when I don't know what promises to believe. Is he really going to come up with a car for me? And if so, will it be in my name or will it stay in his and be something he can hold over me because he's afraid I'll desert him like my mother did? Isn't it a little suspect he's suddenly promising this once my mother has a car for me, because he's trying to show her up? And with my vehicle history, will it be another throw-away junker, or rather perilously close?

And if he does procure this car ... what the hell do I do then? Which parent do I turn down--my mother, who's so proud to be able to help me, or my father, whose motives are probably suspect but who says he'll have a newer, better vehicle for me? My mother, who's trying to help me establish things of my own, or my father, who'll cover the registration and insurance? My mother, who's trying to apologize for the last several years she's been a drag on me, or my father, who's trying to apologize for my less-than-stable childhood?

Twenty-seven years old, five years since they split up, and I'm still getting caught in the middle between them.

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