On First Dates, I Always Tell Them My Dad Is Dead

Greg Ortega
Greg Ortega

HOW TO BRING UP GRIEF 101:

alternatively, should I do this before or after the entrée?
maybe this is appetizer territory,
a mouthful of honesty
before the next course.

do I drop my napkin first
& then the news into his lap?

should it be soft? a re-telling without any details that might expose the underbelly of loss

or, like usual, do I joke?
tell him DEAD DAD CLUB is just the name of my band.
we do covers of “Landslide” and “Hallelujah” exclusively, of course

I excuse myself to the bathroom,
look at the mirror and smile,
good thing I have a pretty face

not okay to say, perhaps, but this demure
thing i’ve perfected can be beneficial, you know
can make them stay interested, you know

for a bit

a man once told me there is a crazy hot scale – got to find the balance

I did not go out with him again,
he called though

I told him I have bipolar disorder
he said, “so?”

but now is not then,
now is now and I like this man’s face more than I should
for a first date

he asks about my parents and I respond
accordingly.

“they’re the best people I’ve ever known.”

past tense or present,
the content doesn’t change. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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