Twenty five days before my father died, on my birthday exactly six years ago, he gave me a present. He had the sparkle back in his eye—the one that had been reduced by pancreatic cancer to an ashen ember—when he gave it to me. It was a small package, rectangular in shape, in crisp brown-paper wrapping. Twine neatly wrapped around the corners, crisscrossing back and forth arriving at a bow crafted by the sure hands of a man who built his first model airplane at age seven.
This small brown package will be the final gift my father ever gives me.
My family does gifts strangely. For instance, we have our own mangled interpretation of hanukkah, where each person of the family has a night to give out presents. If we have five people home for hanukkah, we celebrate only five of the eight nights. The joy of gifts are in the giving, not receiving, so before opening your present you must first guess what’s inside. This tradition is “plenty questions”, a more forgiving version than the standard twenty questions.
“Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?”, I ask.
We are in it for the game of teasing the gift out of the gifter. It’s like extracting [...] continue the story