I almost died... who says that and means it? After a long draw on his diet coke he dead-eyes me with- no one knows what that means. He is smiling and chewing on a double bacon burger. I can see the hinge of his jaw and the bowl of his cheek work the beef and grease. Muscles spasm slightly under greyish skin, his hands hurt, chemo does that. Who says that and really knows for sure? This is his version of bon vivant sarcasm. I agree in my head, conversations with my father swing this way every time lately. I suggest salad. I'm not sick, he says. I hug too lightly. I'm not delicate, he says. I am quiet. I. Am. Not. Dead. Yet. He pronounces with both definition and prognostication. My mom binds his days with balms and emotional buffers drenched in apologetic overbearing caretaking. Though he tries, he usually can't leave the house fast enough and hesitates in the car at drop off. Cancer and it’s multiplying minions, lurk at the edges of our visits. We name it, call it out, offer it a seat at the bar beside us. We talk over it, We laugh at it. My dad mentions that he will probably barf later, then jokes- give me an hour then we can go out for pizza. In his world you die or you don't, any bridge of indecision was washed out the moment of diagnosis. And living means swimming in the turbulent eddies of the in-between. He always seemed confident that he could wash up on the right side of the riverbank. Order onion rings, he says. Then we will go see a movie. He always pays the bill and says- you'll get the next one.