My father is waiting in the arrivals hall. One glance and I exhale with tentative relief: he appears to be in a good mood. This can change at any moment, but my father’s version of bipolar disorder typically involves less rapid cycling than that. He is undiagnosed and untreated, by far the most dangerous type. One doesn’t need to be a shrink to know that.
“Welcome to New York,” he says, and folds me into a hug. The way my father hugs is a bit of a tragedy. There’s an awkwardness there, even with me. Especially with me. He too has flown in today, traveling from Southern California, where I grew up. He grew up here but swapped coasts when I was four years old, rarely if ever looking back. My father is not a nostalgic man. His memory is too good for that.