I take a breath, one of my last.
“Please, don’t go.”
I open an eye to see him. It is odd to see his concern now, despite how close we have become over the years. A far cry from how we were in his youth. “It’s fine. Don’t worry so much.”
His laugh is watery. “Are you kidding? After all of this? That’s what you say?”
“Yes, it is. I’m old now, what would you expect? Let me go as I wish.”
He shakes his head. His dismissal of my words actually feel like a balm to my dispersal.
“As you wish… heh. If I did that years ago, we wouldn’t be here now.”
“I wasn’t old then.”
“Sure you were. Just not as old.”
Somehow I have enough energy to chuckle. “True enough. Thank you.”
“Don’t be like that.”
I know what he means, but can’t help myself. “Grateful?” He sounds so much further away now. I do not have enough energy to keep my eye open, but I struggle to keep it so for just a little longer. A little longer. “As you wish.” I am so tired.
For some reason, hearing that still sounds foreign. Foreign, yet all I wanted. More than everything else. I smile. “Son.”
Now he is crying. I don’t have to look to see it. “Please…”
It is all so far away, but I can accept that. “Be good. I love you.”
It took me a lifetime, but I made it. Knowing my son has gotten there much sooner than I… I am content.
I am gone.