After my parents’ divorce, when I was 4, I spent weekends with my dad, before we finally moved to California. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was incapable of enjoying the day’s activities, of being in the moment, because I was already dreading the inevitable goodbye of Sunday evening. Trips to the mall, miniature golf, or movies had me in a foggy, lump-throated daze long before my dad would drop me home and drive away.
Now, standing among the accumulation of the life of a little boy he no longer is, I look at my own young doppelgänger and realize: it’s me who has become a boy again. All my heavy-chested sadness, loss and longing to hold on to things as they used to be are back, sweeping over me as they did when I was a child.
In front of Matthew I’m doing some of the best acting of my career. I’ve said before that the common perception that all good actors should be good liars is exactly the opposite; only bad actors lie when they act. But now I’m using the tricks of every hack and presenting a dishonest front to my son and wife. To my surprise, it appears to be working. I smile like a jack-o’-lantern and affect a breezy, casual manner. Positive sentences only and nothing but enthusiasm framing my answers to Matthew’s questions.