Knee brace

For some reason I found my eyes moist while my father was fitting a knee brace in a sportswear store. It's one of those elastic ones with a hole in the middle for exposing the kneecap. He said we should use his spare plane tickets. In the event that he dies, he said, I wouldn't be able to use them anymore. I told him we should go to Vietnam. At the supermarket he vents his frustration over the parmesan missing at the shelf we used to see it. Same is true with the muesli brand he likes. I told him they must have changed the layout of the shelves since, to our delight, they've placed the paper napkins under the Tissue aisle instead of the Picnic Items aisle (the latter also makes sense, but in the first place, paper napkins are a tougher kind of tissue). We wanted Shakey's but it's too noisy, and at Pizza Hut the waitress said they ran out of tomatoes for our thin-crust pizza. It has puzzled me--tomatoes, of all things--until we left the restaurant and realized that it was because of their preparations for this seven-year old kid's birthday. At least he liked the crabstick rice paper rolls. While in the Diapers aisle, our conversations led to his remembering that today is his brother's second death anniversary. Back at Pizza Hut, we've been talking about his friends and his increasingly solitary way of life. There are more old stories than new, things of the past, his cousin's death last year which really took much of his vitality from him, all these bound by a single thread: lung cancer. As a fourth grader I remember writing a skit for a class with some groupmates, entitled "Lung Cancer", and I remember photocopying it at lunchtime. With my curlicued handwriting, the woman behind the Xerox machine wondered if it was my handwriting. I am writing this down because of two reasons: the thought of taking a picture of him looking down at receipts of ATM transactions is initially funny, because he chooses the highest amount among the receipts and pretends it was his, but  to some degree I find it heartbreaking; and I wasn't equipped with Henri Cartier-Bresson's eye and Leica. Photographers are swift and nimble, while writers are slow, languid, meditative.