The third time our father peed all over the hallway, we said: enough’s enough. He’d been drinking a bottle of whiskey a day, business-like, determined to destroy his many minor, professional failures with a final, permanent one. To destroy his memories, himself, us. Worn down by the spectacle of his decline, we’d become quietly determined to let him. It was an easy choice for us, our complacency. But the extent of the decay, the inconvenient incontinence, forced us to take a stand. Us or the booze, we said. Enough’s enough. He chose, for a while, us. He stayed sober, stayed sharp. Father as mentor, role model, heroic type. He remained awake through dinner, helped around the house, even volunteered to take out the trash. The recycling too. It took us longer than it should have to hear the fullness of the cans, the muffled cry of the empty bottles jangling inside, to tune our ears to the special frequency of his failure as he heroically dragged his burden to the curb, alone, at dusk and we — willful deafness our addiction — we let him.
Kent Kosack is a writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh where he teaches composition and creative writing. His work has been published, or is forthcoming, in Sonora Review, Tin House (Flash Fidelity), the Normal School, Hobart and elsewhere. See more at: www.kentkosack.com
Artwork by: Markus Spiske