problems more remote, as if I were constantly rehearsing the same scenario with different actresses and never experiencing the actual event—
which promised, if our rehearsals were any indication, to be an obstacle
course in intimacy. But this event never arrived.
On the first floor, I found my father weeping with a pop can pressed
against his forehead. He sat on a bench in the lobby beyond the nurses’
station, the back of his head leaned against the bottom half of a poster,
which was obscured by a piece of paper announcing the schedule for a
series of physical fitness classes. The same piece of paper appeared all
over the facility. These classes seemed to be the event of the season, like
a ball in a fairy tale.
“She’s not here!” my father said, holding the can to his temple. “I can’t
“Dad, she’s everywhere. She’s in every room.”
“Dad, have you been here long?”
He looked up at me, his eyes red.
“I came and got her last night.”
“I saw. You left the garage door open.”
“I came three times. No, five.”
“More. The doctor says she’s still hiding in the house.”
“The doctor didn’t say that.”
He stiffened and nodded his head. “The doctor said that.”
“The doctor said that?”
“I don’t know. I think it was a doctor.”
“There are people hiding in the parking lot.”
My father frowned.
“I hate them. This is having an effect on me.”
“Do you want to drink this?”
I took the can from his hand and opened it. The click and fizz startled
us both. We looked down the hall, both ways. No one looked back; no
one was there.
“We need to get more of her things. All of them.”
“I’ll go,” I said.
“Take the car.” He held out the keys.
“Will you be okay?”