“But why? There is a party on Saturday…I really don’t feel like going home.”
“I understand that you would like to go to the party, but this is quite a serious operation.”
“What is it again?”
“It’s a delicate one. Look, Mary, how many times do I ask you to come home?”
“This man was more your father than I was for five years of your life.”
“But I sent flowers!”
“I know, and he has them in his room. Your mother will pick you up Friday after your last class and she’ll drive you back after you visit on Saturday. I will see you Friday. I love you.”
And my father hung up.
I dragged my feet on the newly installed blue carpet in the hall as I went back to my dorm room. I sat on the floor, leaning against my bed, and mentally moved the trunk away from the riding-memories door.
I thought of my dad and his splendid hands opening up my trainer’s cranium and fixing things. I knew he would fix everything; he always did. I got up and started to pack a backpack for the weekend, grateful for both of my fathers.
How many of us get to have a father who can fix your other father?
“C’m’here,” my trainer beckoned from his hospital bed. I moved to the side of the bed and he moved, a tangle of tubes and cables, to give me the never-before-or-after-kiss on the forehead. I felt his thin, dry smoker’s lips on my skin, smiled, and stepped back.
“Well, take it easy….”
“Thanks for the visit….and the flowers.”
I nodded and walked toward the door, counting my steps. I stopped and turned around in the doorway.
“Oh, hey, don’t worry about the operation. My dad’s like you….” I let my right arm settle on the door jam, right hip casually swinging in, as I waited for him to cock his head. I gave him a half-smile, “…he’s the best.”