the Czarina Warrenina Joskes - Empress of All the Russias, Queen of the Steppes, Keeper of the Faith, a Living and Breathing Deity Who Has Deigned to Walk Among Us ... to Bring Us Grace and Beauty the Czarina - sat up in bed, topless and flustered. His hair was mussed, and his eyes only half open. It would be said that the Czarina looked a hot mess ... but such is often the result of a massive heart attack. His kidneys failed. His heart seized. And when Ova the Top, the Frenemy, and I went to see the Czarina, he was too weak to even turn his head. His wit was, however, still intact.
Of a screaming woman in the next bed, observed, "That is the Wailing Wall ..."
He was more critical but equally tired when I saw him the next time - commenting on the lemon yellow of my sweater, and the state of the turkey with gravy half-eaten on the plate before him. His hospital room - small, private - while nothing compared to the comforts of the Winter Palace had a certain vitality about it, which is perhaps the only reason I did not burst into tears.
I could not avoid them yesterday, though. I was having gay laundry day (wherein you put clothes on to wash, go have a drink ... return to switch the clothes from washer to dryer, and then go have another drink; ideally, you'll have a buzz as you fold and hang things, and after you put the clothes away, you can go have another ...); so, the Frenemy and I were doing laundry at one of the local gay bars, when a mutual friend of mine and the Czarina's returned from the hospital to say the he'd taken a turn for the worse. He aspirated in his oxygen mask, and there breathing trouble ... there is still breathing trouble.
And it set in suddenly that he might die. I mean I knew this, of course, but there is something so very awful and poetic about dying on Christmas Day. the Czarina expressed both a desire to stop living, several times before this most recent health crisis, and also a fear about dying on Christmas Day. It always struck me an odd fear, and now ... now, with Christmas right around the corner, and the Czarina back in the ICU ... it may be a very sad and lonely Yuletide.
I didn't put up a tree this year. Last year, I had four ... so maybe I get a pass this year. No lights. No tree. And the only gift I am buying is a scarf for my father's Secret Santa.
And the only gift I want is my friend, my dear friend, my gay dad, not to go away.