Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Today is the day...

When I will spend about 20 minutes driving in circles at Logan Airport and occasionally slowing down to look at the people standing under the Virgin Atlantic sign. One hopeful part of my brain will be looking for one person while another part, the more anxious and incredulous part, will be looking for two people.

One will, without a doubt, be my father.

Sam Liyanage has been in Sri Lanka for exactly one month, missing his birthday cake which I made him in spirit, Christmastime cheer which also never really existed, and the New Year which technically also happened on the other side of the globe... but I doubt he got to see the ghost of Dick Clark on HD television. In reality it was I who missed everything. I potentially missed meeting my new mom's family and greeting her in the place where she spent her entire life.

Now I'm going to back up here. One week before he left for Sri Lanka my father picked me up in Lowell where I go to school, took me to a store to buy me a fancy winter coat, and treated me to dinner at a much-too-classy Vietnamese restaurant. A smarter, more observant person would have suspected something. All I suspected was that it's about time I have a coat for the winter and that I could really go for some Vietnamese food.
As we sat eating our Pho Hoac Mi watching the Patriots play on 4 TVs my father turns to me and says (without any introduction or prep),
"So... I'm getting married."
And I say,
"You're kidding." (repeat about 67 times)
"No, I'm not kidding, why would I be kidding."
I laugh. A lot.
"To whom?" I ask. Not a crazy question considering my father is not currently dating anyone.
"A woman." Well that's a relief...
"Which woman? Am I suppose to guess???"
"She's in Sri Lanka. I'm getting an arranged marriage."
Well that's it. The dams of laughter break. I laugh into my napkin, giving me time to process what the hell he just said.
"Why are you laughing? That's how they do it in Sri Lanka." Apparently Match.com has not yet franchised there and they are still trading goats and spices for wives.
My one and only real question, "Is she coming here?"

That was pretty much the end of the conversation. We finished our dinner, the Patriots won, the check was paid, we ate our fortune cookies (which was curious because we were not at a chinese restaurant) and we left. The topic was never brought up again.

So I'm left with a few questions. (Some of which were answered by my older brother, Ben who had a slightly more involved discussion with our dad a week prior.)

Who is she? (I learn later that she is sort of a friend of the family. She is a widow. How tragic.)
How old is she? (According to Ben she is in her 40's or 50's. So which is it? 40's? 50's? That's a big age gap Benjamin. Get your facts together.)
Does she speak English? (??)
Does she speak a little, tiny bit of English? (????)
Does she have children? (She was married at one point so... probably, right?)
Does she even want to come to America? (This can't really be a dream vacation for her)
Won't she miss her family? Her country? I ask this because my father has been in the states for 30 years and still misses his family. I can only imagine what it will be like for her.

Then the big question. Is she really coming here? Is she really marrying my father? Is there not a chance that this whole thing does not work out? Or even funnier, that my dad really was kidding. And it's even more possible that she won't be flying in with my father but coming at some later date. And then what do I say? "Welcome back, Dad. So, where the fuck is she?"

I wish I made this whole thing up. I wish I could tell you that I need you to edit this chapter in a fictional book I'm writing about fucked up stories that would never actually happen to people.

Unfortunately, this is my life. Please laugh with me.


  1. I know you & I don't know each other well (at all), but I just wanted to say that is all very fascinating... all of it so foreign to me, well written, etc.

    I hope everything works out for you in the end!

  2. I still don't know if she speaks English.

    Also, while you circled the airport terminal looking for our dad, he called me and asked me to call you to have you call him. In a burst of sanity I gave him your phone number.