He sits there wanting to look strong. Just that strength is failing him miserably. I  can tell.
‘Baby I will be better. I will come home and you will have chocolates. ‘

I swallow hard and blink back tears. This isn’t my father.. my father is tall, strong and would never be confined in this small bed..
I want him him to be stronger. I want him to lift me up as if I was seven. I don’t want this frail man.

‘Pa,’ I say barely audible..

He holds my hand. I start crying.

‘Time is up. Visitors you are kindly asked to leave the patients to rest.

The usual hospital voice.
‘I love you. I will come home soon baby’.

I quietly nod and he doesn’t complain I didn’t say I love him back..

I get home a few minutes before dusk..
The house is as I left it. It is cold and there are no lights. We can’t afford it. I let myself into my small room and quickly change into warmer clothes.

I can feel myself crying yet I can’t give into it. It is another luxury I can’t afford. I am the strongest. I would remain so.

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