A Storyby J. Kevin Shushtari
Ali finally fell asleep around midnight but woke at three. He always slept poorly when he visited his parents, maybe because he was used to living by himself. He’d driven the hour from Weekapaug to Providence to take them out for dinner. His father, Mohammed, who liked to be called Mo, was eighty-eight and had been on the faculty at Brown’s medical school for nearly half a century until retiring last year. His mother, Helen, a retired nurse, was eighty-five. They’d met at Rhode Island Hospital shortly after Mo had emigrated from Iran to do his medical training, and notwithstanding the objections of Helen’s Irish-Catholic family, they married within the year. Although still mentally vigorous, they were both becoming physically frail. Mo had undergone surgery the year before to replace a heart valve, and Helen was recovering from a recent hip replacement, after tripping on the curb at the post office. Now she used a walker.