'The Follow Through' by Laurie Theurer
Your grin is there still, never deserting you, even at a time like this. Your hands, skin paper thin, quiver as you fold and re-fold your trademark white Hanes t-shirts. I miss a breath.
We abducted those shirts to wear as nightgowns, back in the days when they reached down past our knees. Your laugh echoed as we twirled, whipping endless cartwheels, splashes of soft, white cotton circling the living room on hot summer nights. You’d caress our backs or tickle our feet while listening to the Dodger game on the old Zenith. Better pictures than TV, you said.
There was never anything you couldn’t do. You gave us Louisville Sluggers, taught us to grip them like Steve Garvey, to lean back and wait for the pitch; and the importance of follow through. A good swing is nothing without follow through.
You volunteered for every Girl Scout activity and pinned each badge onto our uniforms. You waited on the sidewalk as we sold Peppermint Pinwheels and Marshmallow Meltaways door-to-door, ever patient, always watching.
Your strong hands are now gnarled, covered with veins that protrude like fat blue worms. Your fingers cannot quite pull the suitcase zipper closed. For a moment it seems like a good thing.
You bid farewell to the house, folding your cane and yourself into the passenger seat. The corners of your eyes glisten. You don’t look back.
“Dad, remember? You can still change your mind about Shady Acres. Our guest room is yours, if you want it.”
Your blue eyes crinkle as your hands, as warm as they always have been, seek out mine.
The crowd goes wild as Steve Garvey slams another one out of the park. It’s still all about the follow through.