Sunday, March 11, 2007


My dad’s briefcase sits at the bottom of the front hall stairs, as it has for so many thousands of nights and days over the years. His keys lie next to it, as was typical. I can see them from where I sit in the living room. The omnipresent sound of the oxygen concentrator is missing. The house seems preternaturally peaceful. People are chatting and laughing in the dining room.

It is easy to imagine that he has simply gone to the store, that at any moment he will walk in and start calling for my mom. Or maybe he is overseas, in France, England, China, Georgia, Spain, Turkey, Kenya, Saudi Arabia or any of dozens of other countries to which he has traveled. But he is not coming home. I saw to that this afternoon as I helped the mortuary workers carry away his shriveled cold body.

I hope that the briefcase will remain where it is for a very long time to come. I find it comforting.

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