On Not Recognizing My Father
The Amtrak Coast Starlight pulls into Paso Robles only 15 minutes late. I step onto the platform and scan the small crowd of people there. I don't see anyone waiting for me, so I walk to the bank of pay phones and call home.
I look around, and spy this guy who might look like Ben Kingsley wearing an extra 20lbs and a Hawaiian shirt.
Strange, that’s my father.
"You staying for a week?"
"No, got to leave Sunday."
"Why did you pack so much?"
I know you would like me to stay longer, Dad.
We climb into the new family vehicle, a late model Chevy Blazer. Dad takes it through the few stoplights that comprise downtown Paso Robles and heads out the backroads towards the house. I notice a filter mask sitting on the dashboard.
"I was just at the doctor’s office, getting a shot and some more blood work. My white count cell is pretty low. They might not be able to do the next chemo. The nurse told me to wash after shaking hands with anyone. She gave me a mask to wear. I told her that I had a party planned tonight and it’s hard to drink wine through a mask. She told me not to be with anyone tonight. I groaned, it’s only my thirtieth wedding anniversary."
preparing for the party