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“Next year”, I say aloud to the cylindrical cardboard container with the printed beach scene with a starfish. “I’ll take you home next year, Dad.” He wants his ashes scattered in the San Francisco Bay, but I live in Hawaii now, and like the rest of the world, have curtailed travel to a bare bones necessity. Cremains in a handy recyclable container require special permissions to transport, hopefully I have the paperwork in the same place as the urn. I tell the urn that I have never wanted to be famous, but have always wanted to be rich and the ghost of my father chuckles. My mother told me that when I was about three years old, I thought I could swim. All the other kids were in the pool, the parents were having cocktails on the chaise lounges – none of them were wearing bathing suits, it was a cocktail party. I was tired of sitting by myself, so I jumped in. That was not hard at all. Strangely, I remember laughing all the way down to the bottom where I sat and looked around at the wonder of it all, this muffled underwater universe. Story goes, nobody noticed except my dad, who had seen me go in. Figured the other kids would chase me out. But they hadn’t noticed me either. And the minutes ticked by, and I didn’t come up. Dad took off his shoes and jumped in, fully clothed and pulled me up. I still wasn’t scared. For some reason, I felt perfectly safe the whole time. The water must have been very warm, because I really don’t like cold water. The quiet house when the wind dies down feels like the bottom of that pool sometimes. I’ll take my glasses off, and the air thickens, sights get blurry. Movements are slow, exaggerated in time because the pain from old surgeries slows my rise from the front room chair. It occurs to me that now that Dad is dead, who is going to reach through the water and pull me back up?

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