An Imperfect Stranger

Essay by CRAZYCAPTAINUniversity, Bachelor'sA, October 2004

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"I wish there was a stranger, sitting in this room," my father mumbled as I watched him from across the room, in a Chicago hospital. I sat stoically in the corner of the room, but still listened intently as he laid dying, mumbling confessions off into space.

"You know Chris, I don't regret the way I treated your mother," he muttered.

"What about me?" I asked.

"What do you mean 'what about me?' I gave you everything you could have ever asked for; a car, an education, money so you could do God knows what."

Maybe it was from the Xanax or the three Valium I took in the cab ride over here, but I feel nothing. As far as I was concerned he had been dead my whole life. I sat there indifferent as the beep from his respirator continued to slow down.

"Do you find this cathartic? What the hell am I here for? I thought you never wanted to speak to me again."

"You are free to leave at anytime...I just thought I'd give you the honors to see me 'drop dead.'" He croaked.

"Well, how thoughtful of you." I replied smugly.

"Despite how disappointed I know you think I am with you...I do want you to know one thing..." He motioned for me to come closer, as if he wanted to tell me a secret. His words were getting softer and slower, and it appeared that he didn't have much longer.

I hesitantly got out of my chair for the first time in hours, and made my way across the hospital room. As I got close to his bedside I could smell the musky smell of him when he would leave a bathroom and forgot to light a match. A smell that I used to detest...