Posted by: patti | October 17, 2008

Swollen (Flash Fiction Friday)

Only an hour or so left to Friday, but here’s the first post.

Puppa’s hands are swollen.  They are still puffy and pink, a month after his triple bypass.  His hands were always large, but thin, and always white, the white of skim milk.  These cold, rough hands were a symptom of the heart trouble that led to the surgery, but we always thought they were just Puppa’s hands.  Hands to clutch on the way out the door, not hands to worry over.

When they wheeled him into surgery, Aunt Maggie was with him.  The doctors wanted him to remove his wedding ring, but he refused.  Mags, a nurse and Puppa’s favorite, was called to talk him into it.  She explained the danger, the swelling that could occur during or after surgery, and she promised him she’d hold on to the ring and keep it safe.  He wasn’t having any of it:  “Mumma put this ring on me.  No one’s taking it off.”

Aunt Maggie could only nod and agree that no one else should take off her Daddy’s wedding ring.  Practical, calm, Maggie would not let him see her cry, and she would not argue.  And as the sedatives began to work and the doctors readied him for anesthesia, she started twisting the ring off his hand.

It would not come off.  No amount of twisting, tugging, rubbing, or pleading, would convince the ring to leave his hand.  Like it knew, 64 years later, that it was meant to stay.  “I’m sorry, Daddy,” Maggie sobbed when they cut the ring and handed her the pieces.  She rubbed the white groove on his finger until they wheeled him away.

The jeweler repaired the ring almost as easily as the surgeon repaired Puppa.  But his hands are still swollen, too swollen for the ring to fit back on his hand.  Maggie kisses his new white band every time she says good-bye.

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