by Donna Morang
(Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
As I walked down the hospital corridor to my father’s room, tears trickled down my face. Suddenly, it was hard to breath, and I was overcome by an odor from the past.
I remembered this same smell from visiting my mother’s room at this very hospital. It was the sickening smell of cancer!
Was it just a horrid memory, or was my father now laying in this hated, stinking place of dying memories, with cancer eating away his body?
I turned away and quickly ran for the first exit I could find. I couldn’t face my father with a swollen face and red-eyes. He knew me better than anyone, and I wouldn’t be able to fool him with a half-smile. I had to escape and I knew where my escape would take me. It would be to a place, my father hated more than any cancer.
After three or four, or was that five or six shots of my favorite gin. I could now stumble back down that fucking hospital corridor, enter his stinking room, with a drunken smile on my face.
I had to see his beautiful, craggy, old face and hear his booming laughter. I needed my daddy, and today I needed him more than ever. I knew no matter how bad he hated my liquored breath, he would fold me into his amazingly large arms, and forgiving heart. Just one more time, let me see his blue eyes twinkle with the joy of seeing his only daughter. Let me hold his huge, calloused hand. Let us talk for hours about his wonderful life. Please! Please, let me see the robust man, that I call Daddy, without the stench of cancer filling my nostrils, and my nightmares.
Only two months later, I found a smell much, worse than the stench of a hospital room. It was the smell of Lilies and dozens of Roses, flowers sent to say good-by.