The doctor said his heart was defective. I didn’t know hearts could defect. Wikipedia said it was a death wish. The doctor called it a genetic recurrence. Someone sent a fruit dish. I chose the least ripe looking peach, some kind of exercise in self-denial.
My father – strong-willed, hard-bodied – excused himself to the men’s room. There were teeth marks on his arm where he bit down to hide the noise.
The nurse said, ‘Preparations.’
He was led into an unlit room. A voice over the loud speaker said, ‘Lunch will be served late. Spam and devilled eggs on bread.’
Camera flashes went off like gunfire. I asked the nurse what was going on. ‘We’re freezing his expression,’ she said, ‘so you can remember what his disappointment looks like.’ I asked her if that was really necessary.
She said, ‘Necessary? Nothing in life is necessary.’
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