My grandfather will die soon. We’ve known for a while but now this certainty has a time frame: “within the week.” I imagine him now propped up at an angle in a bed in a hospital in Baguio, a wristband indicating DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) hanging below the tattoo on his forearm of a lady in a grass skirt. He doesn’t have the strength to tighten his fist, to make her dance.
The news came on Saturday, only hours after learning that the older brother of a friend from high school committed suicide. My parents ditched their vacation to jet from Hong Kong to Singapore to Manila to Baguio to get to him as quickly as possible. I took the A train home. I listened to sad music. I tried to sleep. I rolled out of bed. I went to work.
Near the end of my shift, the loathsome radio started playing “Hotel California.” The store is dead quiet when The Eagles spit out the lines, Some people dance to remember/ some people dance to forget. This prompted a purchase of whimsy - a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah/Carmenere blend I had picked out for my father when I went to visit my family in the fall. This is a wine I have sold to customers as being like “a warm blanket,” or “a big hug.” The bottle weighs, like, two pounds with broad shoulders but the wine itself is soft and mouth-filling. Dark chocolate, blackberries, herbal spice. I share the bottle with my roommates, distracted, and take the last glass into my bare room. I think and then, I remember.