I didn’t listen because I never listened to him, but I saw he didn’t care, his gaze drifting past my face to the construction on the street behind us and back, then down to the beer I bought him, talking the whole time. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
It was the last time I saw him alive.
I didn’t know he was dying. He looked the same, the worn-out look behind the eyes, the missing teeth, the way he fluttered his bird fingers. He was always glad to see me. Always wanting something. A drink. A cigarette. A few dollars.
Must have been a hundred people I knew at the funeral. They got up and eulogized him with fantastic stories of his antics, no two alike. How he once faced a city bus in a mock bullfight, how he’d defended himself in court and astonished the judge with his knowledge of statute and precedent, how he could recite Richard the Third in its entirety.
I sat in the back, listening.
I didn’t share my story of how I only found out he was my father when the coroner called.
How he’d listed me as next of kin.