I walked into the room crowded with prescription medications and home-made hospital equipment.
Even in his final days, he thinks of himself as a doctor. Without even a high school degree…I don’t know where he ever got that inclination. He believes he has the power to heal himself but lacks the energy and spirit; instead, he allows his body to remain lifeless in the crippling fortress of a bed.
It’s been years since I’d stepped foot in this room. When I was younger, it was my imagination’s safe haven. As I grew up, it turned from my giant toy box of wonder and secrets to my grandfather’s sanctuary of pity and self-loathing.
Even the hallway leading to the bedroom, once lined with smiling portraits of children’s faces, looks sad and dark.
It’s at that moment that my eyes see him for the first time. It takes me a long time because the mattress where he lays has become so accustomed to his shape that the blankets and sheets swallow him whole. Not even his chest rising up and down as he breathes, in slow, repetitive motions, shows signs of hope.
His eyes are open but they stare blankly at the ceiling and they might as well have been closed.
This is his hour. We both know it won’t be much longer.
I took two small steps towards the edge of that bed; my hand grazed his dresser and the cold wood caught me off guard.
I slowly took a step back and gathered up my courage; it seemed to be slipping from under my garments and lying in a pool around me with every tick of the grandfather clock in the corner.
I had been waiting years to say what I had come here to say today and I wasn’t about to leave without trying.
Again, and this time, with slightly more confidence, I took a few more steps toward him.
As I stood by him, I could see his eyes shift to my figure and he did his best to raise his hand to rest it on top of mine.
He was terrible at showing his emotions: this time wouldn’t be any different. Even though I knew this would probably be the last time I would feel his touch again, it sent shivers down my skin.