An older man walks out of house, the leaves crunching underneath his feet. He steps onto the dock and watches as NF gasps for air and struggles to stay afloat in the lake. NF reaches out his hand as he drowns. His arm becomes limp and blue.
The older man watches as NF calls for help inside a burning car. NF smacks the window with his arm, trying to break it. He puts both hands on the window, his face outline by the thick, gray smoke. The car is engulfed in flames.
The older man walks up to an open grave and pauses at the coffin. He opens it and sees that it’s his son, NF. The older man kneels and puts his hand over his mouth and then on his forehead.
The older man continues to stand at the dock. A woman comes up behind him and asks “Nathan?”
NF promised himself he would be a better father to his own son. He didn’t ever want his son to wonder if he was loved. His son wouldn’t eve have to ask for help. NF would be there, chipping in with bills or searching through the job postings with him.
He kicked his son out at 18 years old. The calls from the principal were weekly. NF didn’t bother to show up to any meetings or conferences. His son packed his bags and told him to fuck off. NF shrugged. It was one less mouth to feed.
His son wanted to go to college. However, NF had lost his job two years ago and began dismissing the idea. His son pleaded for him to take any job and care for someone other than himself. NF collected the unemployment checks until they ran out and smoked all day on the couch.
His son realized that his father no longer cared if he had a future. He stopped going to class and getting into fights. He slapped his son after he had called him a loser and told him to get out of his house. He hasn’t talked to him in two years. NF’s daughter asks him if her brother is ever coming home. He answers “no” and returns back to the television.
He didn’t think he would become his father. He thought he would be the family member to break away and better himself. Sometimes, he’ll venture downstairs and sift through photo albums with bloodshot eyes and a shamed heart.
Directors: NF & Patrick Tohill Year: 2017
Pam Avoledo’s love of pop culture began in 1999 with the message boards dedicated to shows on the CW (then WB). She graduated from Oakland University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism.
When she is not debating whether Dawson should’ve ended up with Joey, she looks at cute dog memes on social media.