Under Chandeliers and Gold

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I never really knew you. You never really spoke.

But do words always matter?

The essence of a person speaks without sound. Does it?

All I ever wanted was for you to know me. But you did know me, you knew your daughter, the one character I become with you, a facet of myself.

You, always at a loss for words, dying or living, I struggle to tell you who I am. Dying or living, your words are sparse.

But here hiding away from the world so vulnerable, so weak, dehumanized and disrespected by tubes and drips, bloody diapers and a soaked red pillow I try.

Is your soul pouring out your mouth? Rich and red velvet blood.

“I’m sorry” did you say?

Did all the words you never said rot and corrode your insides?

The eyes that once judged now plea but I can’t. I can’t and all these years I would have done anything.

You never asked.

One eye trying to escape: “I can still speak” it says. “I must break free of this corpse.”

In a pile on a starched bleach white pillow pieces of you pull your soul out.

Tubes keep your body here.

You wish that container of blood were a bottle of Courvoisier.

That the tube in your arm was a joint in your hand.

That the fever was just the feeling of scorching sun on the Barbados beach.

That this hospital gown covering your protruding ribcage were a silk robe and the fluorescent lights cruelly revealing the grey scale of this setting would turn to sparking chandeliers and atmospheric candles.

and you …

You in a 4 post mahogany king size bed, draping silk and velvet, French doors and ladies who wait on you.

The colour of your blood is so rich, you know, like the decadent wallpaper in a casino. Your eyes rolling, blankly following the blood.

If you blur them do you drift to the roulette tables?

In your morphine coma I hope all the people, poking, prodding, sticking sticks in your mouth, changing your diapers, counting down till you are no longer. I hope they transform into maids, butlers and gardeners.

You wish that this was just a flu, the strained breathing would go away with antibiotics, that the cancer was just a nasty bacteria killed by penicillin.

“We just have to wait it off. Wait till the drugs kick in.”

But we tried that. The queen’s doctor could treat you and still we would have to live this reality.

That you will never know me, meet your grandchildren, see me on TV, be proud. Dreams you had, that I shared evaporate from your hollow body and settle on your pillow.

You can forget. You are gone.

You left days ago.

I dreamt we danced under chandeliers and gold. Connected and understood, you spun me. I had a daddy and then exhausted we walked off the floor, like through an invisible wall of reality. This was our last dance. Time was over.

I’ll hold onto that dream and toss the trapped man in a dying shell. You, so proud and vain, I will not do that to you. Your charm and charisma will live on in me. My bones and veins like the pinstripes on your suits. An elegant flamboyance that made a statement, made it’s way from you to me.