I sat by my father’s bed.
If there was one place in the house I was often sitting, it was there, next to him. Holding his hand, reading to him, listening to him reminisce about how still, after all these years, he hated his mother, or that he loved his grandmother, or that the light was fading.
There were two paintings I hung on the wall of Dad’s art studio a few months after he died, which stayed there until I had to move the last of his things to make way for a new tenant. One was a small self-portrait he had painted in the early ‘90’s. In it, Dad wears an imperious expression, almost a scowl, a man with a serious chip on his shoulder. His beard is tightly clipped, his glasses too big for his face. This was a man unwilling to take shit from anybody, and he would cock his eyebrow until you knew it....
“You were the apple of your father’s eye the second you popped out,” Mom told me. “He was instantly smitten.”