This morning I had a coffee date with my dad. I wore a cool blue and white dress and put on some lipstick. He wore a pair of chino shorts and a pale blue T-shirt. We walked to the coffee shop, greeted the hostess and talked about the weather. Sat down at a table and perused the menu – debating the merits of the various offerings.
Thandi took our order – asking my dad first what he would like – and he chose pancakes with cinnamon and sugar, and a black Americano, “extra hot, no milk, please”. I picked the same snack – but with a cup of tea.
We sat and chatted about this and that. Touched on family issues, the frightening events of last night*, how we thought the week was going to go: imaging timings and outcomes. I saw people at other tables glancing our way, commenting to each other – and smiled merrily at them all.
When we were finished, my dad picked up his shopping bag – and we headed off. We ambled back ‘home’, touching base with new pals we have made over the past ten days. He ignored the elevator and took the stairs.
Just a regular dad and daughter: out for a stroll. Except that my dad had a catheter in his shopping bag, a pipe down the front of his trousers and big white bandages on his head. And our meander was down a hospital corridor.
But we didn’t care. 10 days ago this felt like an impossible ask of the universe. Today it felt like a wonderful day out.
(*Treatment protocols that had gone awry – a incoherent phone call pulling my mom and me out of our beds at 3.00am, a dash to my frightened dad, the solution and settling. And back to bed by 4.30am. Image copyright campari&sofa)