The Golf Talk
Buzz Mauro

They took their pleasures where they could find them: chocolate, a hot bath now and then, the occasional insult that really hurt that the other had no ready comeback for. The week after she died he took up golf again. He played all day long, bought new clubs, signed up for tournaments. Someone used the word "gallivanting." She had accused him, in front of family, of wanting her dead, of fantasies of stopping her breath with the low-thread-count coarseness of the nursing home pillow, and we knew he had wished and contemplated all of it -- the pulling of the plugs, etc. She was a virtuoso when she was sick, and he had not been known to put up with much bullshit. One of us would take her part for an afternoon, to show sensitivity and superiority, but sympathy always reverted to the man who wanted his wife to die but knew enough to hold his tongue.
The golfing, though, was unseemly, like dancing on her grave. He had joined three country clubs.
We took him to breakfast and said, "Dad, we have something to say to you."
He had already played eighteen holes and his skin and eyes were bright with the sun and the air. He swallowed a huge slow forkful of pancakes and a gulp of whole milk. The look he turned on us, too, was slow and huge.
"So," he said. "You're saying you have something to say to me."
A fat waitress asked if we needed anything and we seemed to notice all at once that the pancakes were damned fluffy and delicious, something to enjoy now and look forward to enjoying again in the future. So we said, "No, Dad. That's not what we were saying at all."