thursday 4/26/07 1:58 pm
I was in a hospital room. In a chair at a round table. Surrounded by curtains and beeping machines. Curtains all over. Yellow ones. I could see feet where the curtains didn't reach the ground. Feet and scrubs. I don't know why I was there. They were doing ekgs. They got an ekg back from Barron. I heard the lab tech say to calibrate the machine. Barron’s ekg was all pink instead of yellow. They thought the ekg was off. I looked over. I was waiting for medical records. I didn't think I'd actually see him. My dad was laying in a hospital bed. In his blue bathrobe. That bathrobe with the red trim. They got the paddles out. He was writhing in pain. I didn’t want to go over there because I knew he wouldn’t want me to see him that way. His eyes were closed. Maybe he wouldn’t even know I was there. I walked over scared. I couldn't breathe. This is what we waited for, what we needed, what we were looking for all that time, what our mother would never give us. I reached and held his hand to try and calm him. He fought it. I told him it was me and fought him back. I told him I was there. His writhing calmed.
He opened his eyes and tried to focus. Who?
You have to talk slower.
Yo land a, I whispered.
He held my face and kissed me.
He kept having heart attacks. One every few minutes. The doctor gave him pills. We left the hospital. As long as he had those pills and as long as I was asleep, this little world existed.
how much time do i have
We stood in front of a garage door. He pressed a button on a key fob. The garage door opened. He pressed another button, the car beeped and the doors unlocked. He stole mom’s car from the garage. A car I never sat in, from a garage I never walked through. We hopped in, he told her we were going to the store. She was yelling at him to get back in bed, or to take his pills. Whatever she was saying, she was pissed at me. He was wearing a red polo shirt and cargo shorts. One of many similar outfits. His glass case rested in his chest pocket. "Face to case," he always said.
We drove through this little hillside town. Full of bouganvilla vines and cobblestones (interesting, it was the same kind of roads as the dream I had with him in the white waiting room that June). He laidthe seat back. He was driving. Wouldn’t let me drive. For some reason. I didn’t insist, for some reason. He kept taking pills. Kept wincing in pain. Kept driving.
I don’t remember what else we did. We talked. I told him I loved him. I had to tell him I loved him so he would know before this little world dissolved. He looked me in the eye. I saw that smile. That smile I knew so well growing up. The one I could always coax out of him with a joke. That laugh. Oh god, his laugh. I knew I had to say goodbye. I wanted to say goodbye before my alarm went off, before he died again. I didn’t want to say goodbye yet.
i want more time
He was out of pills. He grabbed his chest and pulled over. He needed water. Cold water.
I ran into the house we stopped in front of. He followed behind me. It was an Asian family. They didn’t speak English and were scared. I tried to tell them it was okay, I just needed water. We were strangers in their house. Of course they were scared. I didn't care. They grabbed the phone. I ran into the kitchen. My dad needed cold water. Cold, it has to be cold. I saw a water cooler. Got a glass of cold water. He drank it and it was better. The mom was on the phone talking, yelling, pointing and waving at us. I said we were leaving and thanked them.
We were back in the car. Then we were walking in the cobblestone street. Hand in hand. The change in his cargo shorts jingled like always. No words. All words. Peace. Ticking clock. Mom’s voice. Someone's voice. Inner voice? Said it was time.
We were down the hill from the Asian family’s house. I put my hand on his shoulder and said I wanted to talk to him. He was happy. He said yes. We walked up the stairs.
We walked up a flight of stone stairs to the Asian family's backyard. There was a party, trays of food, tables and red table cloths, candles, silverware, fireworks. It was late afternoon, before dusk. They were glad to see us. They were celebrating. We were at a party. I was at a party. Phill was there. I hugged him. I tucked the top of my head into the crook of his chest and chin and smelled him.
My dad’s here.
I looked over. He was gone.
He’s not here.
That weight of grief hit my chest again, like it always does.
He gave you to me.
i woke up exhausted, drained, gasping for air, filled with grief all over again. these dreams are like reliving his death all over again. these dreams are different than any other dreams i've ever had. i both welcome them and dread them. i wonder every time if this dream is the last dream.
i'd rather relive the grief than say goodbye.