Dad is stretched out on a recliner, eyes closed, right arm connected to an IV pumping him full of Pancreatic cancer killing drugs while I sit and wonder what questions I need to ask him.
It is a funny thing how 49 years of life leaves me wondering how it is I haven’t thought to ask him about a million different things.
Funnier still are the 8,983,932,299 things I know about him and or stories he has already told me that suddenly require being retold so that I can make sure I have every little detail memorized.
The thing is, he doesn’t feel much like talking and I am doing my best to respect it ‘cuz I know he is exhausted.
So I sit in the recliner next to him answering the 983 texts sent by family and friends asking for an update on his condition.
In between 192 character bursts I think about who I haven’t officially told and wonder if I ought to send them a note or just let it wait because I know they know.
Is it juvenile this waiting to see who reaches out and who doesn’t?
Maybe, but the fact is this time around I didn’t dance in the fire by choice. Nah, this time around I was thrown in it.
This time around I got blindsided, ambushed and sabotaged–but I found a way to catch my breath and get my bearings.
And had Leigh Dumbass been a half step slower I would filled his saggy ass full of buckshot, but that is a different story for a different day.
She Is One Hell Of A Ride
One of the guys asks if I am going to get another chance to drive a Ferrari and I nod my head affirmatively.
“I think the same company will let me do it again, provided I write about the experience.”
“Is the track close to you?”
“The one in Texas is a lot closer than the one we used in California the last time.”
“Was it fun?”
“She is one hell of a ride. That car is amazing. If I had forty or fifty million I would undoubtedly buy one. There is something special about the craftsmanship and experience that comes with getting behind the wheel.”
Dad and I are in the car and I am struck by how I am paying attention to him the same way I used to drive and keep an ear/eye upon my kids when they were little.
Three hours of chemo passed relatively quickly and he walked the hallway to the elevator and then out to the parking lot lobby by himself.
It is about 37 miles to his place so I tell him to rest and say I’ll wake him when we arrive.
He dozes intermittently but says almost nothing when he is awake.
Under other circumstances I wouldn’t think twice about this because it would feel normal, but nothing is normal anymore.
Everything is a tad off and I am trying to find a place to stand.
LA doesn’t feel like home and Texas doesn’t either.
They both feel right and they both feel awkward and I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I know if I let it go I’ll figure it out.
I keep driving and keep a running checklist of who used to live where.
“That is the exit to Glen’s, Stacey’s, Mikes, Justin and Jason’s house over there, or it used to be.”
I don’t know if their families have moved or if they still live there.
Part of me is curious and wants to go see but I don’t have the time or the inclination to knock on the door and explain why some almost middle aged weirdo is standing on the porch so I keep driving.
What Do You Want?
Some hours later, dad is ensconced in his favorite chair eating a late lunch of chopped liver and matzah.
I am still keeping an eye on him so I almost immediately see the impact of the liver upon him.
It is almost like watching Popeye react to Spinach because he perceptibly looks stronger and is starting to sit a little bit straighter.
Now when you ask a question there is a lot more life in his eyes and his voice is back at its normal volume.
I make a mental note to think about eating chopped liver again and to keep some around for him.
And then I remember I am leaving tomorrow–this trip is over and I am going back home.
Another text comes in and an old conversation starts up again.
“What do you want?”
I write back that I am not the one who needs to answer that question. My position is known and I am consistent.
Part of me is relieved by what I have seen and feels like there is definite improvement and positive change.
But another part is convinced I need to be cautious and not get ahead of things cuz things can turn on a time.
I compromise and accept that while things can turn it is important to take advantage of opportunity when it comes.
Now things are good and for this moment in time I ought to smile because it could be a lot worse than it is.
Life is interesting, she is one hell of a ride, isn’t she.