the power of love
“Did I ever tell you how we met?” his son whispered. His father squeezed his son’s hand and slowly shook his head.
“We met at a dance club … in New York City. Neither of us had a place to stay so we were both looking for someone to crash with.”
His son’s voice was so soft it was like listening to a ghost. He squeezed his hand again and realized there were only a few squeezes left.
“Once we both realized that the other didn’t have an apartment or hotel in the city we had to decide whether to move on or continue to hang out.”
His son was lying in his boyhood bed in his boyhood bedroom. No tubes or wires. Music and movie posters decorated the walls and trophies from different sports, along with a spelling bee ribbon, sat on the shelves. No beeping machines. For days now the father hadn’t been able to bring himself to look at any of the pictures on the dresser.
“We were getting along so well we decided to stay together that night. We slept in a park … until the police made us leave anyway. I knew right away.”
This was followed by the coughs that made the father wince. Hospice is a nice way of saying that there will soon be a door to a room at the top of the stairs that he will never again be able to open.
“I know mom hates her.”
This was the most coherent his son had been for days. His pale skin has a sheen over it that made the father lean in and catch every word. The curtains were drawn but the sunlight pushed its way in anyway. For a few minutes it seemed like his son was done talking.
And then he continued.
“I know Sara doesn’t get along with Mary either but you have to promise me something dad.”
His father squeezed his hand and this time didn’t unsqueeze.
“You’ve always been nice to her. Mary has always been so jealous of my family. From the start, from the day she met you…”
More coughing. Coughing that ends in gasping. Then quiet.
“Dad… please take care of Mary for me. Make her part of the family. Please. For me.”
His son was staring up into his eyes, pleading. What could he do? He did what any father would do.
“Of course son. It will be a privilege to have her join our family. I will make sure that we take care of her. I give you my word.” Tears streamed down both their faces.
“Thank you dad. It means everything…” and with that his eyes closed and his father felt his hand go limp.
Slowly he stood and put his son’s hand on his chest. He leaned over and kissed his son on the forehead then walked out of the room.
Mary was standing in the hallway.
“Is he….?” she asked and the father nodded.
He walked over to her, placed his hand on her shoulder and said “Get the fuck out of my house bitch and never come back.”