Everything Dies

Letter From Texas

It was one of those winter days in Texas that seem as gray as the surface of the moon and about as hospitable.  It’s cool outside, so you wear a jacket.  Inside, it’s stuffy.  I’m wearing a coat and running the fan at the same time.  You can’t quite get comfortable when it’s like that.  I park near a marker so I can find the car again in the vast parking area, which looks like one of those car lots you see near the interstates, as big as a county, if not a small principality.

I admit to a horror of hospitals.  The antiseptic smells mixed with the distinct aromas of disease, decay, urine, and what I’ve heard called “institutional food” is probably enough to depress anybody, but maybe it’s the memories I have of lingering death, of old people hanging on in spite of themselves, long after they can’t recognize you anymore, that did it.  And needles give me the creeps.

I wander the long halls until I find the room and slowly poke my head in, checking to see if Pawps is awake.  He is.  I ask him how he is, which seems stupid, since I know how he is; you have to ask, anyway.  He arches his brows and says he’s not bad, considering.  He’s in good spirits, though pale and thinner than in my memories of his robust middle age, golden-tinted skin, wavy hair in the breeze on Galveston Bay.  They still have...

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