Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Jo Lauer
"Hello, Dad? It's Jody."
"Oh? Well, how are you?"
I pause, not falling for the new trick. Anyone else might be suckered into continuing the conversation. He used to compensate for his hearing loss by nodding and smiling. People actually thought he had heard and agreed with them.
"Dad, do know who this is?"
"Uh, I believe you said…"
"It's your eldest, Jody, your daughter, in California," I reel off the qualifiers that might jog what's left of his precarious memory. Swiss cheese, his doctor explained. Some things fall right on through, some things stick. I've fallen through this time. My heart hurts though I've learned not to take it personally.
"My daughter?" the holes reduce to colander size.
"Oh, well Jody, how are you, sweetie? What are you up to today?"
There he is; there's my Dad. I breathe fully for the first time in minutes. Tears puddle behind my eyes. If I were there, we'd both be crying now, he in frustration with the fathomless fog that separates him from his family, and me in the sweet agony of capturing fleeting moments of my father.
When I was eight years old, I won a game chest for writing the best essay in the "My Pops Is Tops" category through a local magazine. My Dad has always been my hero. I remind him of this and hear his soft chuckle.
"If there's a bright side to all this," he said, "it's that I get to discover over and over again that I have a daughter who loves me." A tear slides down my cheek. "It's like unwrapping the best Christmas present, without having to wait until—when is it that we have Christmas?"
"December, Dad," I smile.
"I knew that. I was just testing you. Love you, honey. Call again soon. Ten, fifteen minutes should do," he chuckles.
"Love you, Dad. Bye."
Jo Lauer is a Psychotherapist in Sonoma County, California. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Sacred Hoop," "Psychology Today," "Journal of Clinical Activities, Assignments & Handouts in Psychotherapy Practice," "Tiny Lights," "Moondance," "GRIT" magazine, "In The Family," and "Sonoma County Women's Voices."
Her novellas, Waltzing With the Azaleas, and Sojourner, are available at www.e-lesmag.com. She received Honorable Mention in the 76th Annual Writer's Digest Mainstream/Literary Short Story Writing Competition.
She can be reached by e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org .
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