Nate Depke | Sayantan Halder
My dad went missing for a year when I was thirteen. No one knew where he went. He didn’t leave a note or make any indication before he left that he might take off. Ended up, my mom had to get a job to pay bills. She wasn’t used to work, so it was hard on her at first and she complained about it. She cried too. That was the biggest interruption, I think. The crying. And then he came back, walked right through the front door like he hadn’t been gone one day, and everything went back to normal. My mom quit her job cleaning houses and became a housewife again. My dad put on a suit and got his job back. And that was that. Of course, he was different from when he left. I noticed it like everyone else. I mean there was no avoiding it really. He was like super tan, which was weird because I had never seen my dad like that before. My dad was a nerdy insurance salesman, a neat freak who looked like Mr. Bean. Now, he had this dark tan. And he kept it up too. Stayed that way for years. Even bought a tanning bed for the house. My mom never said a word about it. She wasn’t the confrontational type. I asked him once where he had gone in that year. He looked at me like I was crazy, like he didn’t have a clue as to what I was talking about. He told me to skip dinner and go straight to bed. My dad and I stopped being real after that. We went from talking about things that made us laugh to things like the weather.