I remember his cough.
His name was Bob. Every morning I wake up and think of him–before I sleep, he keeps me awake.
He was an odd guy–had no teeth. He used to swim in his underpants and make sharks out of sand when we all went to the beach.
At night, he’d cough like nothing else. But even when he did, he’d tell us stories. They were about a rabbit whose name I can’t remember.
Bob had fake teeth. So, when he told us stories, they’d stick to his lips in ways my teeth never have. It added punctuation to his stories–excitement to twists I never saw coming, detail to faces I could have never pictured otherwise.
At the end, Bob would go outside, he liked it outside.
I don’t know how old he was when he died. He had an oxygen tank then. He coughed a lot more. But, he still did love going outside.
“He just can’t quit,” I remember my mother telling me. “It’s sad,” she added.
I don’t know if he still told stories by then, I was too old. Now, I’m much older, and at night, outside, I think of Bob; wondering if one day I’ll get fake teeth that will stick to my lips when I tell stories.