"The last grain of sand was about to drop in her father's invisible hourglass, ..." She thought somberly on his 87th birthday, as she had feared the year before, knowing that he could not, although he would if he could, go on forever. In his mind, he has not aged enough to let go yet another possibility.
At 72, he took home a woman and secretly bedded with her, and wed her. He found in her a reassuring companionship that he could not find in any of his many children. At night, she warmed his bed, the soft murmuring of her voice lulled him into an easy sleep. She bore some resemblance to his departed wife, her skin fair and her limbs short. She did not mind that he sometimes called her by the name of a ghost that still haunted him.
At 78, he hired a Mexican laborer to bring home a one-gallon size nectarine tree from Home Depot, and ordered a hole in the ground for it. "Make sure you plan it far from the roof, I don't want it leaning onto the house at maturity," He boomed.
At 80, he celebrated his octogenarian with a big party, in which he announced his wish to see all his twenty one grandchildren graduate from the best schools of the country, and become someone important.
As his 87th birthday drew near, she found him irritating for wanting a sofa, of all thing, as his birthday gift.
"Where are you going to put that thing, Dad?" She refused. But he insisted day after day, and said if she wanted to give him a gift, that was what he wished.
"Your brothers sisters need a place to sit when they come to visit me. We can sit and watch TV together," he reasoned. "Anyhow, you don't have to worry about picking it up for me. I already placed the order, and they'll deliver right here on the 20th."
"What's your secret, Dad, for being so optimistic?"
"Not optimistic. I planned it. I picked the color to match this carpet, and make sure they deliver on the day you are home, so you can give them the payment. They want C.O.D."
"No Dad. I mean your life. Don't you feel down sometime? Don't you want to kick off your boots and curse the whole thing off?"
"No, I don't want to go down right now, and I don't want any boots. I want the sofa, and I already bought it."
She looked at him: same face, eyes, mouth. His protuberant belly teetered on his short legs. His shoulders stooped a little. His failed hearing gave him the endearing stubbornness of a little boy. She no longer feared him, but only feared for him. He had no authority over her, but she clung to him for the knowledge of herself, her source, her root, her beginning.
At the last grain of sand, his hourglass would be hers.
Mother, Engineer, writer, manager, and more. I am a bit of everything, a creature of God. I am passionate with life. I fear death and its many forms. I love my mind, cherish my body. I express through WORDS.