by D. Brody Lipton
The pier is crowded. People hunch shoulder to shoulder in the fog, skinny fishing poles bobbing like willows.
This needs to go well, but Dad is frustrated. My line keeps getting twisted in the sodden beams and joists.
And then I catch an ugly catfish. I’m so relieved that I cry.
Horrified by my grandfather’s frail body, I hide in the guest room, pretending to read Archie comics. On the nightstand: crumpled Kleenex, vials of nitroglycerin. A bust of a weeping rabbi.
Papa hobbles in, lays down.
“You’re a well guy, you know? You’re a well guy, and then.” He makes a sweeping gesture: and then nothing.
There aren’t many pictures of my father with my son. Opportunities were few.
In this one, they’re bundled in coats and gloves, building a snowman. They look serious, determined in their work.
Dad would’ve called the irony of the snowman “too cute.” Here one day, smiling, arms outstretched. And then he’s gone.
I’m in the kitchen, looking out the window.
My small son is bounding loudly about the yard, and then he is flopped in the shade of a large, dewy bush.
I watch him lie there, sprawled in the dirt, looking up at the silent sky through swollen hibiscus blooms, imagining things monstrous and lovely, ancient and new.
D. Brody Lipton has had stories appear in CommuterLit, Literary Mama, Alternative Truths, and Aftermath Magazine. He lives in Houston, Texas, with his spouse and two children. Twitter: @MrLipto.