Dad’s an artist. Now that he’s diagnosed, I see it. I watch him closely. To carry on after he’s gone. He sprinkles two spoons of care on the fresh bread held in his left palm. The way he treats it one would think it’s a newborn's head. He carefully inserts both slices of bread in the toaster that’s old and moody like him. He fries the crumbed chicken burgers until the bread gets ready. The burgers were out of stock the last time we checked. He places them on a plate and then sautés onion in the same pan until they’re the shade of my skin. He turns the gas off. Wipes a plate with a tissue, sets the toasted slice of bread in the center of it. He notices the bread isn’t as crispy as I like it, so he reinserts the bread, waits, and then places it in the center of the plate again. He bends forward. Whispers something to it. I lean forward.
You are the center of my world.
He’d whispered once. Am I what he’d envisioned I’d be at 27? Is there somewhere I could go to get fixed? He places the washed Jarjeer leaves and coriander leaves on the bread. Upturns the ketchup bottle and squirts it on the burger. Spreads it with a knife. The knife and ketchup make me think of his death. I wonder how he’ll die. Not when. How. The burger goes on the leaves then the fried onions on top. He crushes the tower with the other slice of bread. Will he die another way, crushed under a vehicle? He carefully cuts away the crusts like breaking down four walls. I have never liked the crusts. I’m thinking of going vegan. I don’t tell him this though we’re close. His lips pursed in concentration, he holds the plate at eye-level. And presents his masterpiece to me which I know I can never replicate.
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