Armatron and The Year of Devastation

Dad is taking some time off this year, determined to teach my sister to drive. She’s had her learner’s permit since August and hasn’t learned a thing. With Dad’s health failing faster each day, the family will need another driver. We joke mercilessly about my tiny sister sitting behind the wheel of the Buick, but somehow even I know it’s really important.

Celine clears the TV tray of Dad’s bowl and glasses. He belches, making a face. He groans loudly, almost yet not at all like the Chewbacca roar he used to do while yawning. We used to laugh when he yawned, clutching our bellies and rolling on the floor. He did that roar on purpose, just to make us happy. But now we don’t laugh at Dad’s growling at his disgusting green mash. Maybe we did at first, but one pained, dirty look was all it took to make us realize it wasn’t funny anymore.

The mash, the juices, the easily digestible foods Celine and I take turns preparing for his lunches, are all a last ditch effort to save our father’s life. The efforts are failing. We know this. But here we are, day after day, my sister and I taking turns making lunches and bringing him his afternoon regimen of dark purple juice and stinking green glop that we try our hardest not to smell.

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