"Well, you can't miss that, can you? It's the size of a ripe peach!" proclaims the squat neurosurgeon, returning his piqued enamor to an auroral MRI scan, hands clasped at the small of his back. A humming light-box behind the shadowy image exhales a faint cobalt glow into a windowless room. Sprouting in the corner is a lone blood-pressure gauge, its wilted black leaves dreary on a rusted iron stalk. Floor wax tinges the air.
A lame marionette, wires severed, his stone-fruited head lolling forward of its own weight, my father sits slumped in a spent wheelchair that I pinched, with adolescent guile, from Obstetrics, next door.
"So, did you fall with arms outstretched?" queries the neurosurgeon, "or with arms by your side, like a tree?"
But Dad appears diverted now, perhaps beholding the skyward swoop of Barn Swallow and Mottled Thrush as their kin, below, chitter and peck amidst stale crusts that Mum has just tossed on our lawn.
"Like a tree", I reply, my hand grasping Dad's wrist like a vine, a radicle plunged deeply into earth to take root.
Qualified in philosophy and medicine, Karim currently teaches pre-medical and medical students. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Auckland, New Zealand.