OMG, you guys. Daddy slept all morning so I made a fast run to the house to find his reading glasses and pick up some clean underwear. Hold onto your hats, because I have big news. Our old Dad has really cleaned up his act! He got rid of all the empty paper bags and National Geographics. There is space between objects in the refrigerator. You can see the hall walls again. No countless stacks of empty jelly glasses and yogurt cups. No drawers full of used twist ties and rubber bands streaked with carbon from newspapers thrown twenty years ago.
All of the flowerpots with dry cracked soil and the ossified skeletons of plants? Gone, along with their friends the stacks of empty pizza boxes and six packs of beer bottles.No cupboard full of clam chowder. No year’s supply of ketchup stockpiled in the pantry. In the bathroom drawer, just one tube of toothpaste squeezed from the end. No ranks of out-of-date prescription bottles. No shriveled tubes of Preparation H.
Mama’s clothes are finally gone from the closet. Her dusty doilies, vanished from every surface in the house. No mismatched socks and wrenches in his bedroom drawers.
How did this come about? Impossible to say as he still hasn’t come to after his surgery, but if I were to assay the probabilities, I’d say a woman might be involved. There is a vase of flowers in his hospital room and a container of homemade soup in the little fridge beside his bed. His hair looks newly cut and his nostril hairs are not in evidence. All presentable underwear in the valise I packed for him and sis, his jockeys are in shades of maroon, navy blue and rust brown!!! No more untidy whities. No more undershirts with holes in them. It’s like they operated on his whole life, not just his appendix. Removed every dusty, tattered, useless, outgrown part of him and plopped down a new father in his place.
Oops.. gotta run soon. The nurse just said he has another visitor. Not a family member, but the one who admitted him to the hospital last night at midnight. The one who left the key to his house for me. They say only one visitor at a time, so guess I’ll have to leave when she gets here. Door opening. She’s coming in the door! I’ll call you from the car.
(After a ten minute lapse, the phone rings again.)
Okay. You guys? Are you all there? Sit down, will you? All sitting down? A slight modification. Make that a he who came in the door!
The prompt word today is assay.