I find him swaddled in white blankets, his hospital bed pushed against a wall in a narrow stretch of hallway. My cinnamon-skinned father is almost 70. His hair sea-salt white; mustache peppered grey.
It’s his penchant for sweets that lands him in this over-crowded emergency room. He’s a stubborn diabetic refusing to make medicine a daily ritual. He sneaks off to the corner bodega for powdered donuts and gulps of orange juice. Falling into a diabetic coma doesn’t faze him.
A nurse rouses him for his meds. He offers me a sheepish grin when he realizes I’m there. “Nurse, this is my long-lost daughter.”
At three, my parents divorced, and it took years for my father and I to reconnect.
“You feeling okay?” I ask.
“Better now,” he replies, but I sense an undertone of false bravado.
Maybe, when my father dreams, he becomes the brawny man he used to be, living a life of carousing in his native Puerto Rico, eating and drinking whatever he pleases.
I stand guard until he dozes off. After, I make my way through New York City’s Murray Hill neighborhood. The East River wind chills me to the bone but awakens my hunger.
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