One Last Ride
By Joe DiBari
“It’s the fever that’s the worst.” The answer was to my wife’s question on my state of affairs. Without her, I’d be dead.
“You’ve had fevers before. How is this one any different?”
“The heat along with the pain makes me feel hopeless as if it will never end.” A drop of sweat entered my eye.
“It will. You are the bravest man I know. We will get through it.” She left to wash the sweat-soaked sheets after she replaced them with clean linens on my bed.
Lying in a heated dream state, my thoughts were to give up. It would be so easy to stop peddling the bike and simply coast down with ease to that inevitable bottom of the hill. The death will be better for everyone, my wife, daughter and family. Eyes closed and I tried to come up with the best way to do this. It would look as if I just went to sleep but it was so difficult to even get up out of bed to even go the bathroom by myself. How could I get the sleeping pills out of the medicine cabinet? Every time I reached for that top shelf the pain in the side of my head was excruciating. I have decided. It will be done.
Sitting up was the hardest thing ever. I paused to gather myself. Attempting deep breaths made me feel dizzy. I can do this. It’s just like the time you thought you should give up the marathon. You busted that wall. I stood. It felt as if I was hallucinating. My vision was framed with a blurry panorama. I fought it off. Those teenage experiments with LSD did have a useful function. With my first step, a pain shot through the whole right side of my body. I will be glad when this bicycle comes to a stop. Pushing forward I made it to the bathroom door. I focused on the medicine cabinet. Just three steps more and I would guzzle the bottle.
“Hey, Superman! I told you to text me if you were getting out of bed.” My wife is a guardian angel. “You have a Facetime from Meels.” She handed me the iPad. It was my 8-year-old niece, Amelia.
“Hey, Uncle Joe! I hope you feel better. I wanted to show you how I’ve been practicing.” She had her guitar in hand.
With the help of my wife, we made it back to sit on the edge of the bed. She held the iPad as Meels played me the best rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” I have ever heard. I started to weep.
“Don’t cry Uncle Joe. I wanted to make you happy and tell you I can’t wait to play music with you again.”
“I’m not sad, Meels, these are tears of joy. You don’t know how much I needed that. As soon as we can I want to jam with you.”
“Stay safe and have Auntie kiss you for me. I love you, Uncle Joe.” She disconnected.
My wife kissed me on the cheek and helped me to lie down. I hope my foot never slips off the pedal again.
Teaching biology in urban school settings and my Bronx upbringing, I have a city voice. My poems have been featured in Capital District Poets Magazine and others.
My short stories were recently published by 518 Pub and BRAVA among others. I was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. joedibari.com