There’s a pause in the conversation. With Ricky, these pauses can last for minutes, seconds, or in some cases years. We steered left onto 62 from France Ave in front of a hospital. Ricky hates hospitals- more specifically the business aspect/politics of the hospital, and in lieu obviously couldn’t resist to announce, “Ahhhh, the hospital. People miserable & dying all in the same building. 100,000 die in a hospital a year, how miserable”.
I wasn’t thinking, and personally didn’t care much for the response, but was more interested in getting something outta the guy. Since I got over the whole yearly shopping spree shenanigans, I’ve substituted Mall-Of-America lust for simple social intrigue when with Ricky. In rebuttal to his hospital strike, “Y’know Jane was in the hospital not too long ago. She had another surgery on her gastric by-pass”- Ricky elbow drops in, per usual- “Now, wai wai wait a minute, she had that surgery years ago. Whattiz she gettin’ it again!?!?” I let him finish, wait a moment to pace the damn dialogue, “Yeah, she had it again, for that and for a hernia repair. She’s been bed ridden for the past few weeks with a machine hooked up to her stomach for the next month or so.”
Ricky turns human for a quick second, “Gahhh, that’s insane, man… Wai wai wait- she’s got a machine in her stomach!?!?” I clarify, “Well, kinda. She got an infection after the surgery, and the machine helps out with that”. The air clears. The dialogue goes unspoken, but even a blind man could see the wheels turning in Ricky’s head. Thoughts, ideas, the past, all spinning in that big ol’ dome of his. The guy has no vulnerability… if ever, I haven’t found or seen it yet… but wait a hot-damn second- Sweet Jeezus, I think I may have just stumped Ricky… someone take a picture, this sure as shit won’t happen again.
He digresses, “Well… y’know…” delivering one of those gutturals that doesn’t make any sense out of context, but makes perfect sense in the works of the conversation. Jane had asked me more than thrice if Ricky had said anything about her. As much trash she’s thrown his way (as much trash that’s been exchanged between the two), you could cold read her questioning of Ricky as affection for the guy. She still cares about him, and even though romance has packed its belongings and taken the last spacecraft out the building, old flames don’t burnout fully… ever. Yeah yeah, there are many clauses to that statement, but if ever you had a relationship with someone that went down like a building on fire and there was nothing life-long deal breaking about it… then yeah, the heat is still there. May not be enough to foster anything long-term, BUT it has the ability to foster the next step towards something relatively long-term. Old flames die hard… but never go out. Be careful, this shit is dangerous.
We’re almost to my drop-off, Jane’s house. “So- uh, yeah. If you got the time, you may want to stop in and say “hi” or just ask how she’s doin’. Emotions have been runnin’ high lately, and she’s turned the ammunition towards me more than once… at least twice a day. Basically, I can do as much laundry, housekeeping, and dishwashing as possible and still catch flack for not hanging up my coat the proper way.” Ricky doesn’t hesitate, “Well, I’d be ornery too if I was bed ridden”. We pull up to the house, “Well… yeah, y’know” making a guttural response to Ricky’s logic. He turns the car off, I step out of the passenger door… wait a second, he turned off the car. Is he actually doing this. Christ, I was just humoring myself with all this, I didn’t think he’d actually step in to chat with Jane.
I climb the stairs to the front door that’s already propped open, step in- “Hello”, Jane says to my immediate foot through the door. “Hey, mom… Umm, yeah, dad’s gonna stop in to say hi right quick”. Ricky proudly steps into the house, “Ahhh, yes” soaking in the atmosphere of any space he hasn’t been in for quite some time. “How long ago was your surgery?” he asks Jane. I duck out on my phone for a little bit, assist in the dialogue when I can, and take a moment to question just what the f*ck is happening. Thought the guy would stop in for a quick second, say hi, and dodge out.
“Well, I gotta meet with a few friends in uptown. Love both of you. Lata”. I exit, they continue conversing, potentially not even noticing my leaving. Fine by me. Sweet Agatha Christie! those two are talkin’?!?! I wipe the confusion from my brain a bit, get to work and company in uptown… to whence hours later I receive a text from Jane, “He’s still here!”. Now, Ricky’s not a malicious guy, harmful guy, or even a crazy guy… he’s just assertive- meh, I’ll rephrase that to overly-assertive, too much for his own good. So when I receive the text, I take the fact that “he’s still there” is less to do with Ricky and more to do with Jane. Another hour later, almost finished with a song between Jus Rhyme & I, which I’ll email to him by the end of this week to which he’ll record in Los Angeles, another text rolls in from Jane, “Actually he was very ok. Hugged me. I think he’s worried”. Shiiiiiiit
However, this past evening serves as living proof that Ricky, my father, has a heart. No matter what’s been said or done in the past… that guy undoubtedly has a heart.