My cousin, Joan, was the last person to see my Dad alive. She lived nearby and had taken on the role of checking in on him. He was a healthy guy, playing golf and doing chores, but he was grieving the death of my mother so he was glum behind his cheerfulness and there was no cure. On that last day, Joan told me later, my Dad was wearing his plaid flannel shirt inside out. She read it as a signal that she missed.

This morning while I was brushing my teeth I noticed that my pajama top was inside out. I decided to take it as an oversight and not a symptom although one of my kids might have a different interpretation. Everything seems like an omen lately.

I feel like there is a shot clock running. And suddenly everything is about time management. Oh, it’s not like I’m going to die tomorrow or next month (though I may), my father lived to be 89, twenty years older than I am right now, so I probably have some time. Say I have twenty years.

What do I do with the twenty years?

My goal is to not just wait.

I want to be struck down with unfinished business. I want my kids to wade through my office and find homeless data strewn about, overdue library books, and a pocket calendar with dates filled in, erased, and filled in again. I want there to be a row of sharpened pencils and half cups of coffee on my desk. I want there to be a stack of unpaid bills and a draft of a paper for school.

I want them to know I heard the clock ticking and I was taking my shot.

Assuming I don’t get benched. Which is the problem with metaphors, they can get out of our control.


Photo: Chelsea Ferenando