Academic journal article Care Management Journals

His Unjust Dessert

Academic journal article Care Management Journals

His Unjust Dessert

Article excerpt

Armed with strawberries, Cool Whip and Norton's critical edition of Madame Bovary, I pranced through three ominous corridors, past two nursing stations and beyond a vending machine that caused pleasure or displeasure when it disbursed incorrect change. Negotiating the last locked door to my final destination, I charged down the hallway, bobbing my head in recognition to a nurse here, an aide there, until my sister's red tank top signaled my successful, albeit late, arrival. She sat regally, like a cardinal among a flock of pigeons, in the enclosed arboretum that boasted one slender tree and one sturdy table of wrought iron whose strength and endurance juxtaposed the fragile man beside it, framed by a stainless steel wheelchair and, on occasion, my sister's random embrace.

The man was my father. He removed his cap, shouted obscenities at Hitler, urged my sister to boycott California grapes, called to his dead mother and John Wayne, recited the first verse of Ferlinghetti's Underwear, and returned the cap to his head. It was one of those headgears of composite order in which we can find the threads of his former self, woven between the faded McGovern/Shriver logo and unpolished buttons that reflected only the most intense light: MAKE LOVE NOT WAR, Save a Tree, COME HOME AMERICA, Pro- Choice, STRIKE, I Love My Grandpa, I HAD ADREAM. …

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