Saving Face for Hung
The endless struggle to keep an adequate supply of clean diapers was wearing on me. I went back into his room where he sat in bed. The bedside table was a mass of Sudoko books, medications he refused to take, (especially the stool softeners which would have made my life infinitely easier, but I digress), that stupid spaghetti poodle lamp, the one with the shade that used to be Champagne colored but now was nicotine stained. One of the poodle's ears had broken off long ago and needed to be repaired, but who did that sort of work anymore? There was also the overflowing lead crystal ashtray, the contents of which caused me to be nauseous but he seemed not to notice.
“I’m going to have to leave you alone again. I don’t like to. I’m afraid you’ll fall, or need something.”
“Where you going?” He asked, in that singsong Cantonese accent.
“To the Laundromat.” I answered. “I’ve got to wash your ‘pants’.”
He smiled and patted my hand. “Sit with me.”
I sat on the edge of the bed. “Hung, you know I love you.”
“Yes, Little Flower. I love you too.”
“Then why won’t you let me buy disposables?”
“We must not reveal my secret. No one should know. If they saw you buying them….”
“Please, Little Flower. I care. I must save face. You understand? Even though you and I are from different cultures…” He drifted off, his rheumy eyes clouded with cataracts until the black nearly turned blue around the edges.
“I know. We are more alike than one would guess.”
This piece was written at the prompt of Lesley who instructed me to use any of the following words (at least five)