Months To Years Spring 2018 Months To Years Spring 2018 - Page 11

He’d try to defend himself, but she’d continue badgering Sometimes, I’d stop. him out of her own frustration.  I am sure that my mother came to regret those arguments. I also heard my mother “Dad, do you remember when I was a little girl, and you on the telephone. used to read “Little Red Riding Hood” to me?” “If he doesn’t start paying more attention to me, I might “Yes, that was always your favorite,” he said. “That just have an affair,” she said. and ‘Pinocchio’.”   I was angry and disgusted – it is easy to take sides when He’d look at me through his thick glasses which made his you are 22 years old. The Beatles played on, “Will you still eyes so big but didn’t help focus the words on the page. need me? / Will you still feed me? / When I’m sixty-four?” I think that losing his ability to read was one of the most vicious parts of the disease.  During the good times, before By the end of the summer, my father’s health seemed to the cancer, my father devoured six or seven books a week. improve – not measurably, but enough to raise our hopes and believe that the doctors had accurately diagnosed After I’d finish a chapter, he’d always thank me. And then his illness.  But the undiagnosed tumor, which had been he’d say something about the future. spreading unabated, knocked my father to the ground on the lawn of the factory in Lodi.  He was rushed to the “I bet by next winter, I’ll be skating again,” he’d say.  “We’ll hospital, and the doctors tried to remove the tumor, but go to Rockefeller Center.  I’m sure of it.”  it was too deeply embedded in his brain to risk removing it.  So, they left it where it was – thriving among the good And he believed it.   cells. The doctors didn’t tell him anything, just that the virus had spread, but that he would eventually get better. The rest of the family, however, had been given the grim news.  My father was confined to a wheelchair, except for the times that Mike, his aide, lifted him into the swimming pool. I’d watch him from the porch as he floated on his back, reaching one arm and then the other over his head, to cross the shallow end of the pool while his legs dangled uselessly underneath him. “ “I’d like that, Daddy.”  I’d look up from the swimming pool and I could barely make out his figure in the shadows. Sometimes, I shivered seeing him so isolated. I wanted my real father back – the debonair raconteur who loved to engage my friends in witty conversation, always curious to know what they were up to. Our porch conversations were different now.  He’d say, “Read “ Along with everyone else in the family, I pretended that my father was going to be all right. Play-acting at Pretty Penny.  In fact, the doctors told us that my father had less than six months to live.  But we never told him.  Lies filled the air between us like dead rose petals blowing across the terrazzo floor. If my father knew, it was never apparent to me. I often ask myself if it would have been better had we told him the truth.  Sitting on that porch I could have asked to me,” and I’d find our place in one of the many history him so many questions; I could have thanked him for books he liked, “Iberia” by James Michener or Herman being a good father; I could have said goodbye; I might Wouk’s “Exodus”, but I had trouble getting the words out. even have been able to find words to comfort both of 11