Unrecognizable

'Hi, dad. How are you today?' I close the door of his apartment and walk through the small kitchen into the living room.
   As always dad sits in his favorite chair, the worn out light brown corduroy swivel chair we carry around every time dad has to switch from retirement homes. Her chair, a lasting memory of mom.
   'Dad. How are you?' No response. His grey eyes watch the park across the retirement home. Not that he can see much but he likes the idea of knowing the world is out there. The crossword book on his lap is still on page 31, the pen in his trembling hand still has the cap on it. He liked doing crossword puzzles. Keeps the brain in shape, he always said.
   I give him a kiss on his head, but he doesn't notice it. I place a hand on his shoulder. 'Hi, dad.'
   'John, son. I didn't hear you come in. Good to see you.' As if rudely awakened from a dream he tries to get out of his chair. 'Have a seat. I'll make you some coffee.'
   'Peter, dad. Sit down, I'll make us some coffee.' I pick up the book that fell from his lap as he tries to get back in his chair and step into the kitchen area.
   'Yes. Good. Good to see you, son. It's been awhile, hasn't it. Haven't seen anybody for a long time now for that matter.'
   'Dad, John visited you this morning.'
   'This morning?' For a moment he goes silent. 'No, that can't be right. I never get any visitors.'
   The dirty dishes on the counter tell the real story. My brother John and I visit dad every day since mom died. John has a hard time seeing dad like this: fragile, alone, unrecognizable, nothing like the energetic man he used to be when we grew up. Still he visits every morning, leaving again as fast as he can.
   I put my coffee cup on the small table next to the plate with one cookie left on it and put my dad's cup on the high table next to his chair. 'Thank you, John.'
   For a few minutes we just sit there in silence.
   The swivel chair moans as he turns the chair to reach for his coffee. 'Have you talked to Peter lately. It's been so long since I've seen him.'
   'Dad, I am Peter.'
   'Yes, yes. How's your wife.'
   'Daisy died four years ago. Marc is doing fine, thank you.'
   'Oh, that's sad. Terrible. My condolences.'
   'I'll pass them on to John.' I finish my coffee, write a few words to John in the diary, wash the dishes and refill the empty plate with cookies. I kiss dad on his cheek and lay the crossword book and pen on his lap, page 31.
   'See you again tomorrow, dad.'
   As I open the door I hear the moaning of the chair. I look back at my father, tears rolls down my face. Dad already turned his chair and stares through the window.
   'Bye, John.'

Auteur: alexroessen

Leiden, 1973 Overdag besteed ik mijn tijd als bouwkundig tekenaar op een architectenbureau, maar 's avonds timmer ik aan de weg als schrijver van korte verhaaltjes of columns. Ik woon samen met mijn partner Yfke en onze kat Abby in de Duin- en Bollenstreek. Mijn zoon Jordi verblijdt ons zo nu en dan ook met zijn gezelschap en maakt ons gezinnetje compleet. Dit is mijn persoonlijke pagina, hier kun je korte verhaaltjes vinden, wekelijkse blogs of andere creatieve creaties.