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No one came to my father’s funeral. Well, that’s not exactly true; a few people did. What I mean to say, is that it was surprising who showed up. Some of the people I had never met before. A few seemed a bit odd – the kinds of people who are friends with a brilliant drunk. The kind who buy in. Or see beyond.

I told my friends not to come. I lived on the east coast, my parents on the west coast, and it felt like a lot to ask. Truth be told, I wasn't sure I wanted anyone to see it all. On the day of the funeral, I regretted this false show of strength. At twenty-six, I didn't yet understand that love and pity are not the same thing.

But I did call some friends just before my father died -- during that stretch of time when he lay in the hospice bed, feet elevated, sheet hanging over matchstick legs. I called them from the telephone that was mounted to the kitchen wall, stretching its long, coiled cord all the way out to the patio. This was a novelty; I was on the phone, but I was also outside. Pine needles littered the ground. I sat tipped back in a white plastic chair, the sun warm on my face as I spoke.

I was tethered to the house.


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