The following piece of flash fiction was inspired by my father who suffered a stroke in his late 80's. It left him paralyzed on one side and altered his personality, leaving him much less inhibited and prone to imagining things. You may recognize someone you know.
Stroke of Brilliance
“Dad, are you awake?”
“Yeah, who’s there? Come on in.”
“It’s Lisa. I brought Cameron to see you.” The woman held the baby so the old man could see him.
“So you did. You remember I’m having twins next week.” The old man fiddled with the blanket. “Where’s your mother?”
“She’s coming. She stopped to get you a Dr. Pepper.”
“Ten, two and four. Three good times to enjoy life more.” The old man struggled to sit up.
“Here, let me raise your bed.” The young woman shifted the baby and pressed the button to adjust the bed. “Is that better?”
An old woman shuffled in, carrying a Dr. Pepper. “How are you today?” she smiled and kissed his scratchy cheek.
“I’ll be better when you give me that drink.” he smiled back at her.
“Cameron weighs 23 pounds now and he can almost sit up.” the young woman said.
“Grasshopper green is a comical chap.” the old man sang. “My twins will be big boys.”
The older woman ignored the remark. “Have you had a bath today? These pajamas don’t look clean.”
“I’m clean enough…” the old man started to say.
A knock on the door interrupted his answer. “Hello, Uncle Claire. May we come in?”
“Goodness, what are you two doing here?” the old woman asked the men standing in the doorway.
“Alvis had the day off so we thought we’d drive over and check on Uncle Claire. Hello, young lady. Is this your boy?” a tall, rough hewn man asked, grasping a tiny hand.
“Alvis, Joe. Good of you to come.” The old man shook hands. “How’s the family?”
“Fine. Everyone sends you their love. Sis fell and broke her wrist a while back but she’s on the mend.” Alvis said. “How are you doing?”
“I’m fine but watch out for that little bear over in the corner.”
Alvis and Joe looked around in confusion. The young woman shook her head almost imperceptibly.
“What did you have for lunch today?” The old woman was trying to fix the awkward silence.
“Ah hell, they served coyote meat. Serve that crap most every day and think we don’t know it.” the old man grumbled. “Fools.”
Alvis and Joe shifted their feet. They tried again to make conversation. “How do you like this place?” Joe finally said.
“It’s okay.” the old man replied slowly, a faraway look coming into his eyes. “But you know, I miss the little things. Like being able to take a walk, or go fishing. Feel the sun and wind on my face. Play with the grandkids.”
The room became still and quiet, his words holding their hearts in a tight grip.
“But you know what I miss most of all?” the old man said. “Sex.”
The young woman stifled a laugh as she looked at the rigid backs of the two men at the foot of the bed. He’s lost most everything else, but gained comic timing she thought to herself.