On the way home from a fun filled jaunt to SF for the weekend, we stop by my parents house Sunday night to collect the doggin. My mom is standing at the garage door in her underwear and no makeup, shoving Bella into my arms.
"We'refine!Don'tneedtocomeup,Everything'sgreat!Didyouguyshavefun?Youmustbetired!Goodnight!" and sweeps us out the garage. I didn't even need to know how to spot a liar to know that she was up to no good.
Driving home, R and I joke about how she probably wouldn't even tell us if my dad (who had been under the weather for a couple of weeks) died, then referenced the episode of Curb where LD's mom passed away and his dad didn't tell him because he didn't want to "bother him."
Monday morning I dropped by before work to bring her a present from our trip. Something seemed off when I walked in. I opened the door to their bedroom and my dad's side of the bed was pristine.
"Where's dad..." I said, a little taken aback by the thunking seriousness of my voice.
"He's at the hospital," she said, bleary eyed, propping herself up.
"Sunday morning," she yawned and stretched, "We didn't want you to worry!"
I guess it's not so funny when she's doing it to you.
* * *
Room 246. I'm afraid of what I might find when I push back the heavy wooden door. He looks worse than I had imagined. Small, frail (obviously, right? who looks strong and healthy in a hospital bed?) trapped in a web of tangled tubes that resemble the backside of a computer desk.
Oxygen tubes wrap around his face that seems more bespeckled with liver spots than usual, or could've been the haaaarible lighting in there. IV bags hover above like pregnant translucent vultures. He turns to look at me.
Seeing him like this only made me think of the time when I was seven and ran over his big toe with my new pink scooter with chubby clumsy white tires. His toenail eventually turned black and fell off, but he wasn't mad at me. I smiled at him while choking back some tears, while knowing that my red nose is probably a dead giveaway.
"Hey, Dad!" I said, a little taken aback by the upbeat steadiness of my voice.
photo by sally mann