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Woody Allen crept up on me the other night in the bathroom again, just like he did last year. What a nuisance--still trying to get me to spread my wings. “The heart wants what it wants,” he breathed down my neck.
Yeah, I know, I thought.
My spines tingled. My scales stood on end. No words came from my beak, but my eye rolled.
“The heart wants what it wants,” he repeated. “There's no logic to it. You meet someone and you fall in love and that's that.”
"And that's all you have to say after a year?" I said to Woody. "You are no help."
But how did Woody Allen know--one full year later--that I had met someone new and fallen in love again? Why was I still a birdmonster, listening to him? The last time I let my heart have what it wanted, all my feathers fell out and my lovebird went to jail. I was left with nothing, not even conversation.
The next day, when I was more myself, the phone rang: it was my dad, who has Parkinson’s and is not always himself either. In his heyday, he was well-known in Minnesota as a very tough and scary guy. Woody Allen and Jim Mohler: bipolar opposites. It's my luck to know them both. After some chit-chat about health and hunting, we got down to business. “Tell me about this new guy in your life,” my dad said.
Yada yada yada, I said. “And I’m thinking of bringing him home for Christmas.”
After a moment of silence, my dad uttered the low guttural sound that I have heard so many times throughout the years. It comes from the back of his throat and is half growl, half foghorn. It comes from decades of having his five children show up in his home, his castle, with one sorry man after another, one more wholly deficient human being and needy stranger who would wreck the peace and harmony of his holiday, not to mention his child’s finances and mental stability. The foghorn part says, “Keep your ship out of this goddamn harbor.” The growl speaks for itself.
I hung on the line while my dad uttered his feelings about meeting my new beau: one long and wordless warning. A chill ran down my spines, but not out of fear like in the old days. I straightened up and had to smile: my dad was still in there, my same old logical dad. I hadn’t heard the foghorn growl in a long time. It was music to the inner chambers of my tissue flaps.
The other line was beeping. I put my Dad on hold. It was Woody; that guy knows everything.
"Woody, sorry about my dad," I said. "He is totally old-school. But I personally loved all the trysting in Hannah and Her Sisters." Maybe because I didn't mention or praise any of his new work, *poof*, Woody was gone. I'm sure we've all seen a guy disappear. It's not like it's magic.
I went back to my dad.
While I'm not the most Halloween-oriented girl in the world, I still respect people's needs and wants and desires to freak out on Halloween. Some people become their most beautiful and shiny selves.
I get tricked.