My mother and I sit in the hospital room listening to my father’s breathing machine. She tells me about my brother, the one who left for college when the check-ups became regular and the treatments more intense. “He’s thinking about an MBA,” She tells me, and I think about how many others are thinking the same thing. “Something you should think about.” If you ever go back. She goes on about his girlfriend, and I look at my father, wishing it were her in that bed, in an empty room, smothered by stale air and plastic tubes.

Talk story

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