From Father To Son
The room was smaller and stuffier than I'd initially imagined. Dad was already stationed over on the opposite side, gazing listlessly into a mirror attached to the wardrobe. There was a haunting, searching look in his eyes – as though he were seeing a twisted reflection somewhere deep within it.
"Is that really me?" he asked, his brow furrowing.
"Of course," I replied, "you've seen yourself before, Dad."
"That's really me…" he murmured, seemingly to no one in particular.
I walked over to him and kneeled down to the level of his wheelchair. When he didn't immediately turn to look at me, I took his hand gently in mine and rubbed it softly. His skin had grown so calloused and coarse – like the bark of a weatherworn tree.
"That's really me."
"It's really you, Dad."
A moment passed before his eyes finally pulled away from the mirror to meet my gaze. "So this is it, then?"
"Do you like it?" I asked, trying hard to hide the fear in my voice.
"Because they can look after you better here, it'll only be for a while."
"I said the same thing to my mother…"
Why did he have to go and drag up that dreg from the past?
"That was different, Dad," I ventured, "she wasn't well..."
There was a moment of silence as Dad pulled his hand away from mine and went back to observing himself in the mirror. A second later, I inched closer and looked along with him.
"Just remember this sight," he whispered softly in my ear, "when it's you sitting in this seat..."
1 December 2016