It’s post rain. The flat, yellowed lined Florida road steams ahead, like it’s barely containing the last layer of hell.
Dad looks decidedly forward as he tells me that a baby never fails when learning to walk. Hands sweaty, I double check the aspirin bottle for the one Xanax he’s given me for the flight.
His form of love.
The quiet moments hang heavy; I don’t reach for the radio.
He pops a Tic Tac, applies lip balm, taps the steering wheel. He claims that his obsessive need for organization reduces his anxiety, maybe it will help me too. He tells me to take deep breaths when my thoughts are cyclical, to count sheep when I can’t sleep. He tells me,
You’re too young for this.
We dance around each other in circles like we used to at those father/daughter dances. Except this time, it’s like we’re at a silent disco. And though we’re there together, and we’re both dancing, we can’t hear each other’s music.
When he drops me off, he gives me two hugs and tells me to only talk half of the Xanax even though half is never, ever enough. He tells me that this runs in the family and that his dad, with his cloudy gray eyes and temper dulled by age, he had it too and he never told him he loved him.
Samantha Husted is a Florida native currently living in North Carolina. She enjoys walking her dog at her local cemetery, watching spooky movies, and drinking gin dirty martinis. Instagram: @crustycute