At first he saw clouds, pale blue blemishes, and then his sight left him completely.
He phoned his daughter. He thought he might die at any moment. He was an old man, had lived a rugged but fair life.
She drove out that night. He sat on the porch, listening to the crickets bleating. When his wife was alive, after a long day of hard work on the farm, they’d sit in the rocking swing, holding hands but staying quiet, surrounded by green silence.
His daughter said, “You’ll have to live with me now,” and the old man almost vomited because he knew she was right.
The condo overlooked Elliot Bay. “It smells like glass cleaner,” he said. “And pigeon crap!”
He wanted to go back, die on the farm. His daughter kept talking about new beginnings, second chances. He thought she might be nuts.
She preferred windows open for fresh air. The street noise below made his ears bleed.
One Saturday she took him to Pike Place Market. He smelled fish and lavender and berries. He heard the fish hawkers and squealing children, birds cooing, a guitar.
His heart thrummed. It felt like a bomb inside his chest, and he liked it. He felt different, alive.
His daughter put his hand on what she said was a statue of a giant pig. “For luck.”
He laughed at that, the irony, how he had traded a live sow for a fake, how small the world really was.