He was excited, too excited.
When I got home from an average day of student work and noticed a small thin cardboard package sitting on the kitchen table, I was instantly captivated. My dad is the only one in my family who goes crazy shopping online, so I knew, from the start, it was his. Even though he buys a lot of stuff online and things come practically every minute, my fascination with brown boxes never seems to fade, kind of like my cat’s fascination with paper bags. I’m not sure if it is the thought that the item could be for me, or it’s just the idea that there is something new and undiscovered. Usually, I would have to wait for my dad to get home from work, which could be as little as a few hours to as much as a few days. He works in New London and doesn’t always come back home each day because of how long his work hours are as well as the drive back home, but today was different. Instead of having to wait for the weekend, he was already home. He had gotten off of work a day early, and I couldn´t be more happy to see him sitting in the kitchen, equipped with reading glasses and a cup of coffee as he was staring 2 inches away from his computer. Obviously, once I noticed the little Pandora box, I impulsively asked him the most important question that could come to mind. “Can I open the package?” Not “Hello” or “How was your day?” because all of those could wait, I needed to know what was in that package.
It was almost as if his eyes lit up. His sluggish nature dissipated instantaneously into
excitement. “I have been waiting for you to get home, left the package just for you.” He
said as if he was a toddler showing his newly done scribble art to his parents thinking he was the next Picasso.
“What is it?” I asked him while hunting for a pair of scissors in my junk drawer.
“Oh, you’ll see.” He responded with a beaming smile.
I was confused, to say the least, but I went ahead with opening the package anyway. I slowly tore through the tape like a surgeon cutting stitches making sure to not nick the secret, yet, oh-so-precious item inside. The package was quite thin, most likely four inches and was about the length and width of two binders laying on their side next to each other. Ideas were going through my head of what this mystery item might be, (a new computer, tools, maybe books). Once I got the package open, I pulled out three canvases all individually wrapped in about three layers of bubble wrap. I tore the protective wrapping on each canvas while my dad hovered over my shoulder waiting for the perfect time to say, ”Stop” or “be more careful” if I got just a little too close to the canvas for his comfort. The first canvas I revealed was mostly a dark royal blue with what looked like a large scaly blob in the middle of the painting. It did not look abstract, so to say, but it was strange. I looked down at it with confusion plastered on my face. (Why would my dad get a painting of this) I asked myself.
As if sensing my perplexity, my dad didn’t miss a beat and said, “Open the rest.”
Reluctantly I opened the remaining canvas to find a picture of a head with a bulging eye
as well as a tail with the same dark (somewhat eerie) blue background. After a few
confusing seconds, I realized that the picture was like a puzzle. Head, blob body, then a tail, it was supposed to be a fish! I looked back at my dad with a still somewhat confused face. It was not a pretty fish, the scales were a deep gray, and well, it just looked ordinary. He looked back at me as if he was a puppy waiting for my approval. “It’s a picture of a tuna… What do you think?”
I looked back at the painting to analyze it again to make sure I was seeing it right (yup, still a fish). “How much money was this?” I asked him.
He was reluctant to tell me at first but I was persistent, “$40” he finally confessed.
“$40! Are you crazy! That’s terrible!” I responded and then quickly regretted it.
“Well it looked good online and.. I needed a decoration for my office… and I like fish.” He said almost as if he was trying to fix a broken bone with an ice pack. He just got a new job and wanted to decorate his office space. He is and has always been, conscious about budgeting. He would only buy things that, to him, were a good deal. I have always been told since I could speak, “you can’t get this… and you can’t get that.” To him, I either don’t need it, would not use it, or the dreaded, it’s too expensive. So… the fact that My Dad bought a bad, expensive, and useless printed canvas is unimaginable to me.
“Okay, fine… your right, it’s bad.” He confessed, admitting his defeat. “But… I need
something for my office and I like fish.”
I rolled my eyes saying, “Okay… Okay,” attempting to be less harsh and to make up for my previous comments. “ It’s not that bad. At least it’s a well-done photo…”
Soon after, my dad packed up the painting in its original packaging to bring it to work. I think he appreciated my attempt to “redeem” myself for my earlier comments, but I don’t think he will look at that fish the same way ever again.