My Parents Are Getting Older I’m Starting to Notice
We eat as if in conversation. Passing bread and olives until finished. A shrimp dish. My father reaches for his fork and says the smell reminds him of homemade shrimp chips. (He used to eat them at his childhood friend Alice’s house, he tells us, her parents served them on a plate with mustard sauce.) I try to remember what shrimp chips look like. My sister texts her friend under the table. The glow of her phone shining up her neck. I say something funny about the IRS. We order the cheesecake. It’s saccharine. Watching my mother sign the bill gives me the same feeling when I see older women eating dinner alone. We drive home in quiet. Each to our own window, relieved of the solace of the car. At home my father falls asleep in the chair in the living room. One arm hangs in the air as if held up by a string. His head falls sharply to the side. I wonder if this is what he will look like if he dies sitting up. A square of light shines into the house and onto the faces of my family looking at me, looking at them. The whole room hangs on it.
Natalie Dunn’s work has most recently appeared in the Kenyon Review, Entropy Magazine, Pithead Chapel, and the Atticus Review. She was nominated this year for Best of the Net and Best Microfiction of 2020.
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Art Dr Alexey Yakovlev/Tahir Salahov CC2.0