Yesterday We Were Eight

My Father’s Braces

There, wadded up in the pocket of Patrick’s bathrobe, hanging in Ivonne’s closet, in the Old Town, on the island he so loved, were his suspenders.

Memories surfaced: His dapper look, bearing his age with dignity and class.

New memories emerged: Packing the boxes, sorting out the things people wanted, the things to donate; sending shoes to one sister, shirts to another, sweaters to both; delivering to Ivonne the robe and that set of braces.

Staying at Ivonne’s, I wore the robe for a moment, discovered some old tissues in the pockets, and … those braces of his, as elegant as ever.

Yesterday we were eight, meeting at Basmati for lunch. Shahin, the proprietor, honored my father with the rest of us, with sadness and joy and a splendid meal. We were eight: Carl and Antoinette, Suzy, Ivonne, Hannah, Carol, Nicole and myself.

I wore his suspenders, and we were nine again.