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  • Get dressed, put make up on, add some mascara (useful stuff that mascara) and a bright red lipstick, get in the car and drive off.
    I know he's waiting for me and I won't let him down. I'll be there, I'll be smiling, I'll be holding his hand, I'll lying all the way.
    I walk steadily along the corridor, wave at every familiar face. Walk in his room and tell him the funny story of the day. I make sure I look beautiful. I make sure I look confident. I make sure he doesn't suspect a thing.

    At night when he sleeps I can't see his face any more. His breathing however is loud cause of the oxygen mask he's got on. He's big and fat and tired and can't talk anymore. He points. He counts. One, two,three. All three women of his life are there, his wife and daughters. And he's happy. He closes his eyes.

    I sleep next to him. These hospital chairs are so uncomofortable, I can't settle on one spot. I fidget, toss and turn, checking if he's still breathing all the while. My mum's sleeping in the spare bed next to his.
    Tonight he won't let me hold his hand. Every time I try to caress him he lifts his hand and forces me to let go. So I do.

    I let go. He lets go too. Is he still breathing? Why can't I be sure? What must I do? The doctor is young and inexperienced and when I tell her I think my dad has just passed she's shocked and scared. "It's ok", I tell her, "we've been expecting this. But .. I'm not sure what happens now". She's not sure either. It takes her a minute to concentrate and call a nurse. Then she rushes to his room. Oh, the soft sound of wheels in the corridor in the small hours of the morning.

    I stay outside. Blessed mascara doesn't let me down even now. I don't cry. I wait. The doctor comes out and says she's sorry. You can tell she's new at this. I'm new at this too.
    I wake my mum up. She springs up ready to take my place in the chair. "You don't have to mum. It's over". Does she cry? She holds his hand. "I'd have taken you to Budapest. Why didn't you wait?"

    It's raining hard outside. We choose a coffin, we arrange the funeral, we go home. We remove our makeup. And cry.
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