Peek Through the Pines

Before my father begun his treatment for cancer, they removed all the teeth on his lower jaw. Sometimes when he speaks, I can hear the words having trouble leaving his mouth. He’s a good man. Sullen like myself, and comfortable in his own company. When he sits there watching television, I see him dabbing the saliva at the corner of his mouth with a tissue. He doesn’t complain, and I make him cups of tea to spark conversation. We talk more now. He keeps a positive outlook. He goes food shopping daily at the advice of the doctors that he must eat frequently to build up his strength. He eats soft food just like a baby. Ice cream and lemonade. Spaghetti and mashed potato. I often wonder what he must be thinking. The threat of death so immanent, does he accept it, or does he try to block it out. When death has touched me, I’ve turned to the bottle. Drowning my fears has been something I’ve been quite adept to. From personal illness to the loss of loved ones, existence terrifies me. Life is bland, yet all I’ve ever wanted to do is live. Too many have been stripped of the chance of breathing. Too many denied their right to another day. Snuffed out in an instant, the fragility of what we are smothered so easily. The thin line we balance upon. Delicate like a feather. As tender as the pale face of someone on the verge of a breakdown. The complex machinery of a heart that adores silence, it makes me weak and it makes me fall. I wish someone would hold me. Don’t bury me, not just yet.

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