Reflection is a lost art, thought Virgil. He took a deep breath from the plastic tubing forcing air into his nose. His dry, cracked lips refused to smile, but inside his heart glowed with the warmth of memory. It was the one organ which never failed him as he remembered May.
Kimberly entered the room quietly. Her brother, Paul, would be coming later. “Dad?” Her hand found his; she brushed it. The idea of holding a hand that had recently been so strong and was now frail tarnished the last of her strength. “You awake?”
Virgil opened his eye and forced his mouth into a lopsided grin. “Ain’t dead yet.” He knew he shouldn’t tease, but twisted humor was all he had left. “Paul came by.”
“I know, Dad, he’ll be back later.” She patted his hand, “Save your breath.”
“And Kimmy?” Her heart sank. “My Kimmy?” He inched forward in the hospital bed as if she were out of focus and moving would help to correct the problem. “May, she is my favorite. Do you want to know why?” Kimberly felt the lump in her throat rise at the mention of her mother. He frowned then continued on without letting her answer – not that she could have. “Kimmy reminds me of you. Spittin’ image that one!” He let his body fall back into the pillows.
“Remember the day we met?” Kimmy nodded. She could tell that story by heart. Thirty-three years they had lived together. Six months ago he had stood tall by her graveside. Now the doctors predicted he’d join her within the month. This was his second heart attack in two weeks. So what if he thought she was Mom, hadn’t he done that a thousand times already? “You wore a blue sun dress and strappy sandals. I’ll never forget because you carried them as we walked the beach. May, it was the best day of my life. Every one.”
“Every one, what?” Kimberly asked aware he was trying to relay something important.
“Every day. Even at our worst.” Her father smiled and in it she saw the man he truly was and always would be.