Dave: The Ultimate Fish Slayer
Captains log, stardate July 28. It’s been three months since I moved to Colorado.
Aside from the clerk at the grocery store who now knows exactly how much Captain Crunch I eat, I have no friends here. I won’t return my mother’s phone calls. I speak only sparingly to my brother. Olive and I FaceTime every few days but mostly we talk about her job and her new boyfriend.
I fear I am slowly descending into madness.
I’ve been thinking about my Dad a lot. Dave. Dave, The Ultimate Fish Slayer. (That’s what he called himself.) Dave was a financial adviser for a company my mom worked at in the early 80’s. He was an avid fisherman and in that kind of generic white dude way he spent his week days working for the weekend. He owned a small row boat and lived close enough to the Columbia River that he could spend his weekends with nothing but a cooler of cheap beer to keep him company. He liked solitude. He had barely any discernible personality. Except that he insisted that he be referred to as Dave, The Ultimate Fish Slayer. That was his one nod to eccentricity. Good for him.
My mom, a vibrant woman made entirely out of squishy, was a book keeping assistant. Their romance was one of the most boring things I’ve ever heard.
They met. They decided their lifestyles where compatible and they got married. My father wanted a wife. A couple of kids. No actual responsibility. My mother wanted a house, a couple of kids, enough responsibility to have something to complain about to her own mother.
Everyone got what they wanted. Dave, The Ultimate Fish Slayer, died from a heart attack in the only way that would have made him happy: on his boat, with a trout on the hook. Tristan was there, 10 years old and already queer as queer can be. I, as a girl, was exempt from these fishing excursions so I was blissfully unaware of what had happened until my mother came to pick me up from a sleep over. Tristan rowed Dad to shore, found someone at the boat launch to drive them back to town. Dad died on the boat but the fisherman who found my brother lied and told Tristan that dad was still breathing and rushed them to the hospital.
Mom handled it like a champ. She used Dad’s life insurance to pay off our house in Vancouver, Washington and went back to work immediately. We lived a solidly middle class life for the remainder of my childhood. I went to the University of Washington and left Washington the moment I graduated. Mom and I were never particularly close. Once Tristan came out everything was always about him. I was self sufficient and moody.
I didn’t really know Dave. I mean, he died when I was 12 but even before then I didn’t really know him. He was around, but he didn’t particularly participate in our lives. He would show up to things, sit at the table for dinner. He wasn’t a bad dad. Just kind of…beige. I hate beige. I have always hated beige.
Dave’s entire life was about numbers. And fish. Two things I simply don’t understand the allure of. Mom was so tuned out for most of my life that I never even looked back when I graduated. It’s been like that ever since. Her trying to reach out every few months and me pushing her away. We’re okay, I guess. I just never thought I needed parents. I always had friends.
I love other people’s parents. Mine just felt like duds. They had no personality. They didn’t ever do anything interesting or meaningful. How was I going to write the next Great American Novel with parents who were aggressively boring. I had a perfectly serviceable childhood. I wasn’t even particular affected by Dave’s passing. He was a presence in the family room in the evenings one day and then he just wasn’t. Nothing much changed. He gave me my name, Juniper Leigh, (weird right? For the World’s Most Boring Man he sure gave his kids weirdo names) and then I think he just considered his job done.
I used to worry that I was a sociopath. Unable to connect to the people around me. But I think the real problem is just that I’m selfish. I need people to be more exciting to warrant my attention. Dave and Debra Clemens where never going to be interesting enough for me.
I should call my mom. Even I’m beginning to feel like an asshole for how long I’ve been avoiding her. Tristan is going to to lose his shit if I don’t throw her a bone and tell her what’s going on in my life.
Okay! Here we go! Main character has a name! Some back story! Alright! I’ve also pretty much decided she’s going to be both the heroine and villain of this story. Because why not?
And! Now I’m caught up! I wrote almost 2500 words today! WOO! AND met deadlines for work stuff. Holla!