So, somehow, the last scene with the father would end, and some other scenes would take place without the father, and then the father will almost taunt Susan about the fact that she hasn't spoken to Gary, and she'll make a snide remark about her dad.
"I don't know what you think you know about me and your mother, but we loved each other very much."
I was staring down at my hands, picking at the hangnails. "I've been meeting with him. Harold."
"You've been what? Why the fuck would you do that?" My dad had never cursed at me before. In front of me, yes, but never at me.
"I...I don't know. I found the datebook and thought I had figured out this big secret about mom. I wanted to know more about her."
"Oh yeah? And what'd you learn from this, this, Harold?"
What had I learned? I didn't think he'd take nothing for an answer. I thought for a minute. I could hear his breathing, which was courser and deeper, as if he had just run up the stairs.
"I learned that marriage is harder than I realized. Every marriage."
"Oh Susan," he said. And then he crossed the kitchen to hug me.
It was three in the morning, and I couldn't sleep. I didn't know what to do with all this information that I had wanted to know, that I had sought out even, but that now I wish I hadn't. I needed to talk to someone. Without thinking, in that muddled mind when you've been up too long, I picked up the phone and dialed my home number.
When Gary picked up it sounded like he had been sleeping, like his mouth was full of cotton. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have called so late. I'll go," I rushed.
"Suze? What's the matter?"
"Nothing, it's nothing. I shouldn't have..." I was going to say bothered you, but instead I started to cry. I took big sobbing breaths and got tears all over my phone. I hated that he was hearing me cry. But I couldn't hang up.
My sobs were winding down when he said, "What's going on? What is it?"
And then they started again. How could he be so tender to someone who had all but left him?
I finally got control of myself and I told him the whole story: the datebook, Harold, the diner, my dad. "I'm sorry to call you so late, after we haven't talked for so long. But there was no one else who would understand.
I'm not sure what to do now. What would Gary say? One option:
"God, Suse. This is crazy. But why are you and your dad fighting? This has nothing to do with him."
I thought for a minute. I had always been closer to my mom. And while I loved my dad, it was easy to see that his testyness, his temper would be hard to live with. I assumed that was why my mom needed someone else.
Before I could even answer, Gary said, "I guess it's easier to be mad at the person who's still around." Yeah, I thought, that too.
We talked for a few more minutes, and then I started to get really tired, like I might fall asleep midsentence. "I'll call you soon, OK?"
"Yeah, OK. You've got a lot to deal with. Take your time. We'll talk soon." I could tell he was wondering whether he should say I love you. I wanted to say it first, to spare himthe confusion, but I couldn't.
Why couldn't she? Was she still not sure? did she not know if the level of familiarity that led her to call him was enough to hang a marriage on? In another scene, Susan would apologize to her father, but not in a very direct way. Maybe she would make him dinner.