Chapter Three


Papa died in the summer of 1985 from complications of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Six months later, I was sitting on a chair near a glass-doored exit at work smoking a cigarette. It was snowing softly outside. A frail old man picked his way along the icy sidewalk, with some kind of cane that had a pointed tip, and came inside. Stopping to light his own cigarette, he told me he had invented the cane himself. It was the sort of thing my father would have done - he could build and fix just about anything. Suddenly, the old man's presence faded and I heard my father's voice inside my head. "Don't worry child, it's your Papa. How are you doing? It's very gentle here where I am. I love you." And the voice was gone. The old man shuffled away. As a child I had called him Daddy, but since this moment when I have a word to say to him from time to time, I call him Papa.
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