Not Just Him
By Tina Portelli
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Tina Portelli, Brooklyn, NY
I started keeping journals for my personal use, then I thought, hey, these are pretty good stories, so now I am actively writing non-fiction short stories, which I hope will put a smile on every readers face! Most are about life in New York City and Me!
NOT JUST HIM by Tina Portelli
Widowed, still fine looking, once extremely handsome, I look at my aging father and think, he is getting old. How will I cope with an aging parent, as if I myself, in menopause, am getting any younger? Who will cope with me? My turn will come as sure as the sun rises and sets.
He does not have Alzheimer, yet imitates it well, when it serves his purpose. I start to notice that he forgets to shave; sometimes he forgets to change his clothes. There are times when he will wear two different slippers, but I think he does that to get a rise out of me. I secretly think he doesn't really forget, just doesn't want to and is using this old age as a screen.
He put the sugar in the refrigerator and saves rubber bands. Empty prescription bottles adorn the kitchen counter. He can leave the tabletop with crumbs on the surface and not mind one bit. Bananas will rot, milk will go bad, and it's no big deal to him. He will leave Christmas gifts unopened, until he is good and ready. This works well for me, as his birthday is in March, I therefore will take a Christmas gift and just change the wrapping paper and re-gift it to him. Then that gift will sit for a few more months, unopened. This is quite economical.
I nag him as a wife would a husband, but to no avail. He is almost comic in the way he lives. He eats his dinner at one in the afternoon and takes his scheduled bath on Saturday evenings. He will practically gift wrap garbage and will sift through the stuff I throw out to see if I am justified. Do not try to get him off that straight track he has known for seventy-six years.
While his house is a cluttered mess, he knows exactly where everything is and will catch me if I move a thing. I once threw away a medical directory from a company of which he was no longer a member and hadn't been for years. The directory itself was obsolete. He went bananas, yet could not give me a valid reason why he needed it. Our basement is his workshop where he creates beautiful woodwork items. He is so talented, yet so hidden. He will fill any request of any person. I swear he could make spare tires out of brillo pads.
Although he has lost a lot of his patience, he will disassemble an entire model locomotive engine, which will take days, just to remove some dust. He will spend hours repairing a broomstick when a new one can be bought for $3.99.
This is a man who could easily do jail time. Solitude for him is not a sentence but a joy. With his troubled son, he manages to keep a positive outlook, his purpose being a devoted father. There is no arguing with his choices in that department.
Our family history tells me he will live a long time. If however he should out live me, he will be in big trouble for I am the one who drives him crazy and keeps him on his toes. I refuse to let him "get old". I will oversee him in his golden years, if he doesn't bury me first. And if he's not dead by ninety-eight, one of us is going and it ain't gonna be me.