Since Father's Day was yesterday, any inclination to sentimentalize should have passed ... like gas. (And how's that for unsentimental?)
Still, if I don't look at my relationship with my father through a rosy haze, it'll come out all wrong. Most of the time we were not each other's biggest fans. How two people related so closely could have as little in common is one of those puzzles with no logical solution. It is what it is.
Let me get this out of the way: we didn't hate each other, although at times each of us was angry enough to say it, in exactly those words. "I hate him." I don't know for sure if he ever heard me say it. I don't think he ever knew that I'd heard him say it. But I did, and the cold feeling that shivered through my bones took a long time to get past.
Sometimes I pitied him. I thought I was smarter than he was. I thought he was too ignorant to talk about issues and events in the news. No argument could make the slightest dent in the armor of prejudice that isolated him from anyone who didn't think (and look) the way he did.
I know for sure he never understood me.
But I never gave him much of a chance. I gave up on him when I was a teenager, and we maintained a guarded truce for the rest of his life. Subjects I decided were off limits were never discussed, or were steered away from. For years we were strangers, living in the same house. Later we were acquaintances thrown together by family obligations.