Page 12 - 2017 Spring-Summer Issue
P. 12

The Perfect Last Conversation

                                  by Lisa Graves

© Julija Sapic /

                                  It was the perfect last conversation, a well-        They called me because you don’t answer
                                  practiced dance we fell into without notice. I       phone calls. They tell me you need to adjust the
                                  was standing at the sink with my hands in warm       medication that thins your blood. When I see you
                                  dishwater, when you came into the kitchen from       later in the day, in my best neutral mom voice, I
                                  your room in back. Draping your arms over the        suggest you name that phone number so when
                                  refrigerator door, you silently scanned for food.    the lab calls again, you’ll know to answer the call.
                                  I found comfort in this familiar small gesture. I    You utter a “yea, yea...ok“.
                                  initiated the conversation trying to make it sound
                                  like the thought had just now occurred, like we      The evening that you die, I look through your
                                  were conducting the business of evenings already     phone and find a message from the lab; it’s just
                                  past. The long scar starting at your heart and       phone numbers on the voicemail screen.
                                  ending above your belly told a more truthful story.
                                  This was your 12th day home, 12 weeks after          Our perfect last conversation was part of an
                                  surgery that gave your heart mechanical              agreement that was made while once tethered
                                  rhythm. I spoke first...reminding you that your      together. There was no truth telling, no heart-
                                  doctor would call you in the morning, and            pouring dialogue on that last night, just nagging
                                  you might want to tell her that you had started      and irritating banter. Us at our worst was us at
                                  smoking again. You were silent, then responded,      our most real. We were family.
                                  “Everyone’s bugging me, just leave me alone,
                                  I’ve got everything under control.” At 22, you       Lisa Graves lives in the Bay Area in Northern California.
                                  suddenly became 12 again.                            She stumbled on to writing after the death of her 22 year old
                                                                                       son. You can contact Lisa and read more of her writing at

                                  The week before, I received a call from the lab
                                  that left me unable to sort my fear and anger.

                                  1 2 |We Need Not Walk Alone
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