Thursday November 14, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
creative writing MFA handbook
Sitting at my brother, Ian’s, bedside, I listen to his breath. It wasn’t his breath anymore, really, it was through the machine that makes an eerie, almost-human inhale and exhale. His husband, Michael, is getting gelato with their four-year-old daughter, Margaret. “What flavour do you think she’s having?” Ian asks, eyes half open. “You’re awake!” I say. The morning nurse, Shanique, comes in. She’s Ian’s favourite. He watches her huge gold hoop earrings move back and forth, back and forth. “Where’s Margaret?” She asks. Ian motions for me to explain. “They’re getting ice cream.” I massage Ian’s feet. They’ve been achey since Sunday. “Lucky!” Shanique says, checking the pump, the IV, taking Ian’s temperature. “They better bring us back some!” She winks at me and I smile. She leaves in a bustle of light pink scrubs with small bouquets of flowers on them, singing a gospel song that Ian sometimes hums when Michael bathes him. “Would you trade places with me? If things worked like that?” Ian asks, his blue eyes piercing right into the place where love lives, where devotion sprouts wings.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Eddie and I were roommates in university. I was already moved in when Eddie arrived in a red Chevy pick-up, his Daddy-oh behind the wheel. Two years later I asked him about that. “Is your father’s name Oliver? Or, Oratio?” Eddie looked at me like I was the crazy one. “Nope…” He furrowed his brow and rolled his eyes at the same time, a skill he’d perfected growing up with three older sisters. “So, is Daddy-oh, just, like a pet name? It’s not referring to an actual “O”?” I pressed on. Eddie closed the book he was reading, something I can’t remember the name of, The Semantic of… something or other. “Daddy-oh was just… what we called him – “ “He’s not dead, Eddie! You still call him that! I heard you talking to him on the phone last night! Get your tenses straight!” I couldn’t believe that I’d had such an outburst. And about the English language, no less! Eddie narrowed his eyes. “What’s really going on here, Robert,” he said, taking that tone that only someone pursuing a Masters in Psychology and Social Work could. “Nothing!” I slammed my fist down on the library table, garnering wicked glares and a communal “Shhhh!” from the students the surrounded us. “Sorry,” I said, partially to them but mostly to Eddie, who was so patient with my temper and insolence.