Remember that time your dad had a stroke
and you booked a flight so you could be with him in 22 hours
and you left your friends
and jumped a plane headed from
Jaipur to Mumbai to Newark to LA?
Remember how they wouldn’t let you into the airport at Jaipur?
How you had to wait until exactly 2 hours
before your flight to enter
but you knew every step towards that plane
made you feel closer to him than you did before…
Remember how you had to go through
but 4 security checkpoints?
Checkpoints that you put your bag through
and each time the screen just looked like his brain –
a jumbled mess of cables and blank spaces
and curious spots that, to the security was no big deal,
but to the doctors meant life and death.
Remember how you got to Mumbai
and bought some more gifts
and paused when you saw something he’d like?
Or would’ve liked?
or used to like?
How do you say that now?
Remember you tried to act like you were returning from every other trip
where everyone would have their hands out looking for a gift
even though you know noone will care now.
Not while he’s still ‘the V word’ as my mother said.
Remember how you finally got on the flight in Mumbai
and played it really cool
because you were one flight away from your own continent
and 20 hours from seeing your dad?
Remember how the flight attendants looked at you
when you popped the anxiety pill
that your prophetess wife made you promise you’d get the subscription for
“You know, just in case.”
Remember how the pilots voice
went from informational to confrontational
as he recited these words “the flight’s cancelled”
and you were glad those pills were already in your system because
“SHIT’S ABOUT TO GET REAL”
is fine to say in your head but not on a crowded flight of people
who seem fine to spend another day far from their families.
Remember how you could get no help.
Remember how your hands were trembling
when you were trying to find another flight.
Remember how you lied to your friends back in the states
that the wifi sucked so they could find one for you
because you were too far gone at that point to make
heads or tails out of itineraries.
Remember how good the thought of
chocolate cake and a beer sounded
and how they couldn’t serve you
because their machine didnt work
but how you found an ATM to get some rupees
because the thought of
chocolate cake and a beer
sounded too good right now to give up.
Remember the last words
your father said to you
“I’m proud of you son.”
Remember the big warm hug
and the kiss on the cheek
and the look on his face as you left.
He will remember that too. For all eternity.