My mother gets up. She is a petite woman, but the snakeskin shoes give her some stature. She throws the remains of the damaged coat back into the chest. Then she pulls out one of her fur hats and sinks her face into it, taking in the smell. “The air of the hunt,” she says, then hands it to me. “Here, put it on.”
After that, my mother attends to the cooking. I can hear the hiss, the slight hiss of the pot as it comes to a boil. I can smell the aroma. Somewhat bland to my taste—but then again, this is the way my father likes his meat. At any rate, he can barely swallow food nowadays.
She ladles a steaming hot portion onto a platter and sets it upon a large tray, so I can carry it over there, to his bedside. Then she gives me the slightest of hints. It is all set up. The time is now.
My arm covered with the hide of a kid, I stand up. Pretending to be that which I am not, I am ready, at long last, to do her bidding. Ready for my defining moment with my father: The old man is on his deathbed. He is waiting for me. Waiting there, in his tent, for his trusty, favorite son.