This time last year, when my mother and sister were nursing my dying grandmother, my father became best buds with a recently divorced man at his company. This much younger, quite dapper man was all that my father was not — free, indulgent, polished — and the two dined and wined into oblivion for weeks on end during my mother's absence. That same man who would spit the food right out of his mouth the moment he tasted a dash of sugar in his muted palate transformed. To what? After having to bear the responsibilities of his dead father since the age of 11, my father was granted this chance to unwind and unravel all of his life's abstinence away. And in style! In secrecy! Who but white folk dine around the ocean? How utterly blissful must he have felt? After sixteen years of a muffled alien life in suburban California, twenty seven years of a loveless marriage, and a lifetime of penitence, prayers, and pity — who could blame him for not welcoming that salvation of surrender, especially when the release was offered on a plate of the finest flank of Kobe in town, with, undoubtedly, an even finer dish to follow?
My father likes to forget. And as intelligent as my father is, I don't think he realized that it's very hard to keep a secret nowadays, that even the terms of secrecy evolve with time. It's one of the only authentic art forms that have survived — don't you agree? My only wish is that he would do it wholly, with a sense of integrity, and let it make him happy rather than treat the whole thing as a forgotten disgrace, another dark memory to omit from his existence. Shame will eat you alive and bury your wife.