I still remember the book I was reading at the hospital; I never finished it. I remember the position of the chairs in the room. Leatherette. I wore combat boots for most of the time Dad was in the hospital; if I couldn't actually combat death I could at least look as angry as I felt.

Part of me will always be twenty-five, bracing my current spot in A Confederacy of Dunces with my left thumb while I reached out to Dad with my right hand. Knowing that a touch or a voice would soothe him. Knowing that it didn't matter a damn how uncomfortable I was; I had to do what was necessary.

I hated touching Dad in the hospital. It felt…wrong. At least around me, Dad was not the kind of person to reach out and touch people. Only after his aneurysm surgery did he ever reach out to hug me; he probably had the same unusually-large sense of personal space that I have.