Bud, 82, in hospice finds his routine
comforting, with the ice cream on
request and hand massages.
Between morphine naps, he has
plenty of time for a final review of
his 32,000 days. He judges he would
repeat 25,000 or so. His life overall
he grades as a B, maybe a B minus,
mostly for that marital reboot and
a career in car sales, when he could
have been a con man and enjoyed
Out of work again, 51-year-old Ted
sleeps until 10 a.m. and regrets waking
to a flood of empty hours. The acres of
bedspread he hiked across all night
were no treat, either. In his dreams,
he often finds treasure, but some
personal shortcoming always keeps
him from bringing it home. Last night,
for example, he found his mother
weighed too much to carry.
†Nellie at 13 barely has time
to keep current on TikTok
yet her parents insist on stealing
hours every day for bullcrap
like SAT prep and flute lessons
and even organizing her closet.
She knows where everything is,
so what's the big freaking deal?
She for sure doesn't want her
mother poking around in thereó
in her closet, she's 21.
Parker at 9 months is exhausted
by the surprises. Food suddenly
appears, grandparents appear,
mother disappears, mother appears,
he is abandoned in the bedroom
again, he wakes, father appears,
food appears, a load appears in
his diapers and no one appears
until he shrilly announces his
surprise. He is bathed, dried,
dressed as a little Harley rider. He
has no idea what to expect next.
© by Tom Barlow.
Used with the authorís permission.