You never know what you are going to find in someone’s junk drawer, I guess. Dad had misplaced his reading glasses—as an avid reader, this was a major catastrophe for him— and so I had come over to help search his apartment. It wasn’t a big place, so I figured it couldn’t take all that long.
I texted Sally and told her I might be a little late picking her up, but not to worry. The trip to the retirement community was another stop, roll, stop brain-cell-killing masochist’s thrill ride through heavy traffic, just like any other day. When I finally got to dad’s, I let myself in.
Dad was sitting on the couch watching something idiotic on his tele, as he called it. He was happy to see me though and struggled to stand up, tottering on his cane. “I’m sorry—” he started.
“No worries, dad. I’ll find your glasses. Do you have idea where you last had them?”
He shook his head. He looked too pale. Not good.
“Dad, please. Just sit down. I got this. Are you out of your heart medicine too then?”
He bent over carefully before dropping onto the couch the last little ways. “I’m sorry,” he repeated. He looked at his shoes. I knew he was frustrated with himself. Alzheimers sucks. I would have to ask the nursing staff about his pills.
I started my search in the kitchenette. Flipping through cupboards, looking for the glasses. They weren’t there.
I moved to his little office area. It was next to the kitchenette. It was also the most likely of places, second only to being under the bed, where his glasses had been found many times.
I started opening and searching the various drawers in his desk then, looking for the wayward spectacles. In one drawer, right on top, I found a yellowed paper. On it was written Baile Átha Cliath – athair, deartháir, Finn.
The paper was thick and heavy. I instinctively flipped it over and discovered it was an old photo. “What’s this picture, Dad?” I asked, wondering who had given it to him.
He looked up from his shoes and looked at me. Then looked away, shook his head.
“What? What is it?” I asked, confused by his reaction.
Turning back to look at me, I could see his eyes were wet. “It’s nothing.”
I frowned. My disbelief must have been plain for him to see.
“Okay. No. It’s not nothing.” He shrugged. “It’s a photo of my da and brother and I. Fishing in Herbert Park. In Dublin. The week before I became an orphan.”
I felt like the room had shifted and I was hanging by my fingernails. What? Who was this guy and where had my dad gone?
“What are you talking about, dad?”
He breathed in deeply. Exhaled slowly. “Well. I guess it’s time we had a talk, son. Pull up that chair, why don’t you.”
It was quite a talk. A surreal moment for me.
I admit. I forgot to text Sally back.
Picture linked via The Write Prompts.