“Someone should tell his family,” the nurse said.
“I will,” Kyle said. “I’m in the way.”
He strolled down to his father’s room. He could hear his parents laughing and chatting quietly. Leaning in the doorway, he cleared his throat.
“Chris is having an asthma attack. First he’s had in fifteen years. It’s okay, don’t bother to get up, the doctor and nurse are treating him and he’ll be right as rain in a few minutes. Meanwhile, what can we chat about that makes us feel like a family for a little while before Daddy kicks off?” His voice was calm, his tone cold. The fury building in him dissipated suddenly, leaving him lightheaded.
“I’m sorry you two couldn’t work out your problems. I’m sorry that car hit me. The brakes on my bike didn’t work and I couldn’t stop. I remember that now. It’s too bad you left, Mike. You missed some good years. You missed meeting my wife, who was a truly remarkable woman. You weren’t there when our children were born, you weren’t at her funeral. You left a hole in our lives for a few years, but you’ve got a bigger one in yours. I don’t want the bullshit about how Mom didn’t want you around or you had to learn to control your gifts.
“You couldn’t handle working at some boring, shitty job for the rest of your life. You couldn’t deal with the responsibilities of being a husband and father. Now you’re laying your death at our feet. Poor pitiful you, sacrificed yourself for others. Well, what about my sacrifices? Or Christopher’s? I forgive you, old man, since that’s what you want. I forgive you because it’s pointless to be angry with an emotional cripple.” He headed out the door, then turned to address his mother. “Mom, I love you. Take a cab back to the hotel. I’m taking Chris and we’re leaving.”
“So much for me being strong for you, huh?” Chris laughed weakly as they headed back to their room.
“None of us anticipated how hard that would be,” Kyle said.
“You did. You fucking knew already and you didn’t say.”
“I already went through it once. Look how well I handled it. How do I prepare you for something like that?”
“If I’m ever like that with my kids, you have my permission to shoot me.”
“You never would. But can’t I shoot you anyway?”
“Nice, I’m feeling the love.”
“I need a beer.”
“No way. You just had an asthma attack. I’m not letting you drink beer.”
* * *
Kyle drove home the next day feeling better about his life than he had in a very long time. True, he still wasn’t back with Emily, but he held out hope that they could work it out. He had to hope that Mike was right, they were meant to be together. Despite his short comings, he did have a little bit of an inside track. Kyle was just walking in the door when his phone rang. Digging it out of his pocket, he saw a number he didn’t recognize.
“Sonny?” It was his mother. She sounded terrible.
“Yeah. What’s wrong, Mom?”
“It’s your father, Sonny. The home called me a little while ago. He died this morning.”
His fingers went numb. Dropping his bag, he had to hang onto the back of the couch, clutching his phone so as not to drop it too.
“They want to know what to do with—with him. I didn’t know. I just can’t decide….”
“Listen, Mom. Someone at the home should have papers.”
“Can you please talk to them? There’s a lady here. I’m at the home right now.”
“Sure, Mom. Put her on.” He sighed resignedly.
“Mr. Scott? This is Marjorie Cunningham at St. Matthew’s.”
“Ms. Cunningham, I just walked in my front door. What do you need from me?”
“Your mother is very distraught, Mr. Scott.”
“I got that. What decisions need to be made? Surely he had some kind of will or a letter of intent?”
“Yes, we have that on file.”
“Then what do you need from me?”
“He wanted to be cremated. We need to know which facility to send him to for preparation.”
© Dellani Oakes