A Storyby Anthony Marra
The girl wiped her father’s forehead with a cotton rag. The fabric was stippled with gray at each point of perspiration, and the girl refolded the rag and brought it down the bridge of his nose. Several times he moaned loudly, as if sending a distress signal from beyond the border of consciousness, but the girl paid no mind, and her father did not wake up. Through the window the girl watched a breaker roll in languidly, its last breath a sputter of sea foam against the sand. His sallow skin looked incandescent in the midday light, and the girl continued to blot the perspiration from his forehead. Sweat droplets pooled between his closed eyelid and cheekbone and when he turned his head, the thimbleful of moisture fell down his face. The girl wiped it from his cheek before refolding the rag and shaking his arm. He swatted her hand away and began snoring. She knew he would wake soon.