My dad was buying a couple packs of cigarettes. He flopped two red packs down on the counter, his normal brand. He said that he had promised someone that he was going to quit, but he didn’t really see the point since he already had cancer. He leaned against the car in the parking-lot and cupped his hand over the lighter as he lit up one of the cigarettes.
I understood how he felt, but I reminded him that he had had such a close brush with a death already, that everyone had thought he was gone. I remembered it so clearly, making the trip out there to Phoenix, leaving thinking that he had died. I remembered being there by the bed, the doors closing behind me, everyone’s faces. But then I remembered getting the call later back home in Ohio telling me that it had all been a mistake and that he was still alive somehow. I remembered that cloud burst of relief, the ecstatic voices on the line.
So I turned to him there in the parking-lot and told him that no one had expected him to make it this far, that it was incredible that he was even here, that he shouldn’t give up hope, that every day after was a genuine miracle. I told him these things, and yet thought of telling him these things as it all began to fade. I wanted to call him up and tell him about this dream, but then I remembered that he really was gone. There had been no call. There were no more days, no more miracles.