Dad The Conqueror
Dad Conquers Paris
“It will be fine,” said my dad while wheeling my grandmother into an elevator the size of a fridge box. My mother, my sister, and I were already inside. The elevator had a steel plaque that read: “500 Lb limit.” “You asked for it,” the elevator said in mechanical whirls as it started its impossible descent. A floor and a half in, it stopped in its tracks. Our only help was a non-English speaking receptionist. My mother dropped to the floor to be able to breathe. My dad and I forced the elevator open. The receptionist stared. Welcome to Paris.
Dad Conquers Belgium
My dad looked embarrassed. It is a mask he wears often. Everyone in the room started laughing after the hotel employee told us that the box in the closet was a safe and not a microwave—the meat sandwich we brought back for our grandmother laid inside, secure, and uneaten. I was sure after we left that Belgium was not the same country that saw us arrive. Two disagreeable adults, two teenagers in the apex of apathy, and a grandmother in a wheelchair drawing some unfair comparison between that country and hers. And wait until I tell you about Paris.