NDJ:7 Gail Boldt, PhD

Less than Nothing

Wanting less than nothing, to feel nothing. I find you flailing, reaching for the phantom pills that staved off death for twenty years. Once again, you rip out the oxygen, so I take your hand to calm the desperation, to offer what little comfort I have. I am surprised that I fight to hold on; you still have terrible strength. Connection fails, turns to battle. Arms wrestling; it has always been this way. As we struggle, you suddenly speak. The first words since my arrival are also the last: “Let go of my goddamn hand! Who do you think you are? You’re not my dinner date, you know!” I say, “I know Dad,” and let go.