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September 2015, vol 11 no 3

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Glenn Coats


My father drifts across the showroom like a ghost. His vision is almost gone and nothing is rich in detail. People and objects blur like colors in the sea. "I can't believe he's still here," one of the customers whispers.

The garage door samples are made of steel, fiberglass or wood. My father recites the attributes of each one as if his words are chiseled in stone. Customers listen in awe of his presentations. He memorizes voices and phone numbers, makes appointments to measure height, width, and headroom.

High above the rafters, there are stacks of cardboard boxes labeled with dates. Each one is filled with bills, receipts, ledgers, account information and copies of tax forms. The boxes are histories of good and bad years. Business has been slow for the past decade. "We just about break even," my father says.

My father is nearly ninety and reluctant to bring his business to a close, unwilling to talk about it. The employees do what they can to make it work. Drive him out to check jobs, take him to the bank for a deposit, or bring him home for lunch. "Your father is going to die at his desk," the secretary says. I think that she is right and that is what my father wants.

so it looks like
someone is home
porch light