I got a call this past Thursday afternoon from my dad. I was sitting in a Starbucks at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Craig Street waiting to meet with my partner so we could get on the road. The plan laid out for the weekend involved a drive to Blacksburg Virginia to see my youngest brother graduate from Virginia Tech so it wasn't a surprise to see Dad calling at 2:30 in the afternoon. He and my mother would most likely have already gotten to Blacksburg and they wanted to check in with our progress.
Dad asked if I had left yet. "No." Dad asked if I'd talked to Mom yet. "No." Dad said he was in the hospital and wouldn't be making it to graduation. "Oh..."
Everything was fine, it's just his heart isn't working right and they need to monitor him. There's no need to worry and he has given his camera to Mom so I needed to make sure to take pictures of Carl's graduation. "Which way are you going?"
I explained our route to Blacksburg from Pittsburgh. "Well, don't stop in Charleston West Virginia." he said, "It's a shit-hole."
My dad was calm so I was calm. I made arraignments to go back to Hampton Roads with my mother and got on the road toward Virginia Tech. We got to Blacksburg, Carl graduated, I took the pictures, we drove home to Chesapeake.
Last night Carl and I took in provisions for my dad to his hospital room. I spent a lot of time in this part of town in high school but enough had changed that I needed to look up exactly how to get to the facility. It's beautiful—built of poured and painted cement, glass and soft lights. It's a whole hospital devoted to people with heart issues of all varieties but every floor and every wing looks exactly the same. All broken hearts are equal here. This building is one of the tallest in this part of town but Norfolk is flat as shit so my dad's view is pale winter sky and the tops of other hospital facilities. He's gonna be fine but he's gonna be here for a few days more.
Before visiting again today I drove out the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Every time I come home I like to, "say hi to the ocean" and this morning I just wanted to be alone for a little bit. Only close friends and family have been filled in on what's going on in any detail and to be honest I haven't cried or gotten real upset yet. I just wanted to sit with all the information and think. I wanted more of a plan than, "wait and see!" Sea gulls began to follow me, lurking in the hopes of getting treats from an off season visitor. I recorded a little update, (see above) and headed back to the car. Getting to the hospital again my dad was resting so now I'm just sitting here in the dark. I know everything is going to be fine. I'll work on some website stuff and otherwise just hang out and wait.
The nurse just came in, my dad is stirring, We're gonna talk, we're gonna figure stuff out, we're gonna make a plan.