Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon – Dean Bakopoulos
- When I’m six, my father lives in the basement for a week. He sleeps on the couch, does not shave, never goes to work. Sometimes my mother and I hear him vomiting in the bathroom down there. My mother says he is sick. We sometimes hear him crying, loud sobs. I am not allowed to go downstairs. He stays there for another week, a third week. My mother goes downstairs only after I am in bed, and they yell at each other so that I can’t sleep. One night there is the crash of a broken mirror and the sound of a hole being kicked into the wood paneling. In the morning, my father joins us for breakfast and, clean-shaven, returns to work.
- When I am seven, my father disappears for a weekend. Eventually, my mother calls the police, who finds him hitchiking on the I-75. My mother asks: Where were you going? My father says: Maybe Florida?
- When I am nine, my father anounces that we are moving to Arizona, and he and my mother stay up all night fighting. My mother says: What do you hope is different for us in goddamn Tucson, Roman? And my father says, ‘Everything.’ But by morning, my father no longer mentions Arizona, and we never move or discuss it again.
- When I am ten, my father kisses a woman at an office party. He confess this to my mother, moves out for a week, and then comes back home, bearing two large pizzas and a jug of root beer.
- When I am eleven my father gets a ticket for drunk driving. My mother threatens to leave him.
- When I am twelve, my father grows a beard and mustache and begins to work in the garden, birdwatch, and listen to opera. He quits drinking for six months and buys a family pass to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
- When I was sixteen, my father went to the moon.