Your Father Isn’t…Bill

30 Jun

Do you remember the last time you ate white bread? Does any memory of actually eating white bread really stand out to you? I have a distinct memory of smooshing white bread into a tight little ball, but never of eating it. I can describe it’s appearance, the texture and weight in my hand, feeling it stuck to the roof of my mouth. But actual taste? It’s like someone erased the memory. It’s a total blank for me. Or, more likely, it’s been overpowered by all the competing stimuli that are so much more memorable.

I bet you see where this is going.


Bill asks me out and I suggest drinks or coffee. He proposes coffee on Sunday afternoon at Starbucks. I’m deeply reminiscing over my first date ever (I was 12), also at a Starbucks, so I don’t immediately notice when Bill walks in. We order iced teas because it’s one of those balmy, moist late-June evenings and anything else would have been absurd, then grab seats by the window.

We chat as I watch a woman walk her cockapoo past the Starbucks four or five times. Bill and I actually have a fair bit in common, such as swimming which I’m trying to get back into, and growing up in the area/still being here (I’d like to clarify that at one point, for a long while, I DID leave. I’m just back now. I’m not bitter or anything). A group of young girls come in, hugging each other and squealing like they’ve spotted Justin Bieber. I alternate between wondering where one got her yellow shorts and the legality of banning caffeine for 13 year olds.

The sky is beautiful as the sun starts to set. We’d had storms not too long before and the clouds are those wild, thick, puffy ones… dark underneath but the top turning brilliant shades of pink and purple that deepen as we talk.

Bill suggests we go for a walk and like a true gentleman, he always lets me go first… through doors, when the sidewalk narrows, when we have to get around a group of teenagers with an enthusiastic German Shepherd outside an ice cream shop. He deftly sidesteps most awkward pauses (there are a few, as with any first date) and he laughs while telling me about an old man wearing a tshirt that says, “I suffer from CRS… Can’t Remember Stuff.” He didn’t see the old man, he just saw a picture of it online, but old people are funny.

I tell him about my grandpa yelling at people, not because he’s a crotchety old man but because he can get away with it now that people just assume he’s a crotchety old man. I think to myself, ‘that’s really not a good story.’

We get to the edge of the “downtown” area we’re strolling through and decide to turn around. I ask what school he went to and he tells me his high school (he did go to college, we get to that later). We talk about traveling and apartment prices in the city and the weather. We talk about the beach. Turns out, we both like the shore and have great memories of going there as kids. Go figure.

By this point we have arrived back at the parking lot by Starbucks and we both move towards our cars. Or, maybe just I move towards my car. I think I at least move a little faster, but maybe not. I thank him for the iced tea (I almost said drink, but that would imply a drink-drink, of which we had none). He says we should do it again sometime and I say, ‘yea definitely’ a little too fast.

We pull out of the lot. I go left. He goes right.

Before I reach the first traffic light, I realize I can’t remember anything specific about him. Just like white bread.


Kids, sometimes people just aren’t memorable. There’s nothing bad about them per se, but nothing stands out as good either. You deserve a father that we don’t all forget to miss, so I can say that your father isn’t… wait, who were we talking about? Yes, Bill.


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