My son David was born on Christmas Day.
Theresa was two months pregnant when we graduated Arizona State University. I was away on my first ever business trip when Theresa’s water broke while eating stuffed crust pizza at a Pizza Hut near our rented studio apartment. It was Christmas Eve and I was going to be a father.
I was three states away in Greenville, SC on business when I got the phone call saying that my wife, Theresa, had gone in to labor. I couldn’t get a flight home in time and I knew I had to drive straight through the night if I was going to make it in time. I was going to be a father.
I parked my rented ‘93 Pontiac Sunbird behind a homosexual nightclub called “The Thick Stick” and bought some crystal methamphetamine from a 6’8” Gothic youth who called himself “Lestat” in a stupid Southern accent. His breathe smelled like sweat and imitation crab meat. He told me he’d give me an extra gram for free if I watched him pleasure himself to completion. This didn’t make me uncomfortable; I went through a pretty big David Bowie phase when I was a younger man. I was going to be a father.
I did three lines in quick succession off the toilet paper dispenser. I had never been so high in my life. It was like I washed myself clean. Clean of every pain. Clean of every fear. Every doubt. All of it washed away in a cleansing fire of crystalized white powder. I did another bump at a gas station and raced down the highway. I was going to be a father and I couldn’t wait to meet my son.
I wanted to be the first face my son saw when he opened his eyes to the world. I wanted to hold his hand against my face as I told him his name: Daniel Dringle, Jr. It was like I could our life together right before my eyes. So vidid and real. His first steps. His first words. His first day of school. Teaching him how to throw a baseball. Teaching him how to drive. I wasn’t just going to be a father. I was going to be the best father a son could ever have. Daniel Jr. was going to be proud of me. Proud of his father. I did a bump at a rest stop and got back on the highway.
I kept seeing more and more Alabama license plates. I didn’t think much of it at first. But with the sunrise came the realization that I had just driven four hours in the wrong direction. I was so high I didn’t notice I had missed the I-75 interchange. When I called the hospital, Theresa wouldn’t speak to me but I was told by a nurse that Theresa had given birth. I was a father and I had missed the birth of my son.
When I finally got to the hospital I had a body temperature of 104 degrees and couldn’t stop shaking. I collapsed walking to the delivery room. They said I was having an overdose and that I needed immediate medical attention. I told them I didn’t care. I was a father and I wanted to meet my son.
When I woke up I was strapped down the hospital bed. The ER doctor told me it took three orderlies for them to put me down and in the process they found the meth in the front pocket of my chinos. I was going to be charged with felony drug possession as soon as I was medically discharged. Theresa was so angry she left the hospital without coming to see me. She didn’t even take the time introduce me to my son. I found out later that she had named our newborn son David, not Daniel Jr. as we had planned. (My roommate in college was named David. He was killed in a drunk driving accident on graduation night. On the night it happened Theresa said it should have been me. That was also the night she told me she was pregnant.)
Theresa refused to bail me out of jail and went to stay with her parents for three weeks. It was three weeks until she would see me. Three whole weeks until that cunt let me meet my son. Three whole weeks. Now I know why women have the babies instead of men. Because it hurts and they deserve it.
You’re the best Christmas present I could have ever received, David.
Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday, David.
Daddy loves you.
Daddy loves you.
Daddy loves you.