I take the 10:03AM from Murray Hill to Penn. I bring an extra $50 and the Capital One credit card statement so I can stop at the bank at the corner of 7th Avenue and 33rd Street in between trains. The NJT train won’t leave until 11:07AM anyway. That’ll give me almost half an hour to cross the street and pay the bill on its due date. It’ll also add the slightest semblance of normalcy to my increasingly surreal situation.
How can I think about paying bills, and the schedule at work, and when to do the laundry, and is there milk in the fridge, and what will we have for dinner tonight, when I have no idea if my father is alive or dead? I am used to multitasking, but a part of me is standing here, looking at my self, arms crossed across its chest, and shaking its head at me.
“You cannot control this situation. You should try to control what you can, though.”
When I get to Penn, I go to the NJT ticket machines and get two off-peak round trips (I can always use them, is my very practical thought). I go up the escalator, turn left and walk to the Capital One on the next corner. It is empty at 10:35AM. There is one teller on, and no line. I pass the statement and my fifty-dollar bill under the bulletproof glass. She takes the statement and the money, inputs the account information, completes my transaction, and slides me my receipt.
“Thank you”, she says.
I want to say, Please pray for my missing father, I am so scared right now. But I don’t.
I walk through the door, and as I cross the street back to Penn Station, my tears blind me. I stop for a moment and just stand there, crying, while people in the middle of their Saturday mornings pass me quickly on both sides.
I collect myself, pull out a tissue and wipe away my tears, and walk back to Penn.
I arrive at Roselle Park at ten to twelve. George is there to pick me up.
We go back to Dad’s, so I can walk around the house myself. I just want to see for myself how he left things. I know this is not logical, because since Dad left, Vee has been here, Glenn has been here, the policemen have been here, detectives have been here, George and Barbara and Alyssa have been here, and maybe some other people, too.
I just want to start at the beginning of Dad’s day yesterday.
The self that was standing next to me earlier, looking at me and shaking her head—that self is looking at me again.
“Do you think you can change what happened if you look around this house, these rooms, look at his clothes, his bed, his kitchen table? Do you think that if you retrace his steps, you can unwind them, and rewind them so that the result is different?
“You can’t. Go find him”, this other self says to me.