More than flowers

SeasonsThe flowers felt like a brick in Chuck’s hand as he walked the hospital hallway to his father’s room. Why had he brought flowers? Dad would mock that choice.

Maybe things had changed.

Chuck stepped into Dad’s room. His father’s thin frame only added some wrinkles to the blankets. His head was small against the pillows. How many tubes and wires were hooked up to him?

“Dad?” Chuck stepped to the foot of the bed.

His father opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling.

“Dad, it’s Chuck.” He leaned a little closer. How did one navigate through all these monitors?

Dad groaned. “Water.“

“I brought you flowers. I thought maybe we could reconnect a little. Darcy said you were —“ How could he tell his father what Darcy had said? That there wasn’t much time left.

“Water.”

“What? Oh.” Chuck searched for a cup. Nothing. “Dad, I wanted to get things right between us.” He looked down at the flowers, wishing he had written down his speech. “I was angry for you for the way— well, the way you used to insult me. You didn’t believe in me. I was angry. I shouldn’t have left but I did.” He took a deep breath. “But I’m back. We can clear the air before—“

“Water.”

A nurse bustled into the room. “Mr. Jones, let’s get you something.” She took a swab, dipped it into a container, and painted his tongue with a gel. “That should help.”

Chuck stared. “Can he talk?”bed_chair

“Not really.”

Chuck needed him to talk. He needed his father’s apology. His father’s blessing. That wasn’t going to happen now. No reconciliation.

“We’re keeping him comfortable now,” the nurse said.

Chuck held out the flowers. “Could you put those where he can see them? And—“ He glanced down at his father’s still face. “And could you show me how to swab his tongue?”

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