Homeward Bound, Part Nine.
When I saw my father, I didn’t really recognize him at first.
I haven’t seen him in ages…close to twenty years, as this plot line keeps reminding us. I honestly would have had trouble picking him out of a line up. Obviously, it wasn’t just the years, but the effects of having lung cancer that led to this.
He used to be vital, outgoing, and tough. An athlete, the life of the party, and very talkative. His mind was sharp as a tack, and he was a very social man. I’ll grant, our relationship wasn’t any good…but that doesn’t really negate that these were his qualities. We just didn’t get along, or ever see eye to eye.
Now…he’s quiet and depressed. He seems to have shrunk, and he’s pretty frail. Mentally, he isn’t really “in the moment” sometimes…and he often has trouble holding the thread of a conversation. It was pretty startling to see, and pretty confusing, really.
More importantly…he didn’t want to argue at all. That was sort of a small mercy, because we used to argue all the time. Apparently, that task is now deferred to my mother, who seems more skilled at it than ever. He just seemed sort of content that all of us were in the same place for once, and honestly…I think it really didn’t matter to him that anyone had anything to say. He just seemed to find the presences comforting.
He had apparently been looking forward to the trip for some time. He had been expecting bad news from the oncologist, and he didn’t really follow the questioning that my sister and I put to the doctor. He didn’t really grasp that the new treatment wasn’t chemotherapy, and had a good chance of making him better with limited side effects.
In a lot of ways, my father had pretty much given up. This person who used to be willing to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime…just seemed out of anger, out of defiance, and kind of resigned to whatever was going to happen.
It was both scary and depressing.
He did seem genuinely happy that we were there, including me. I tried to get that across in the art, which wasn’t all that easy. He wasn’t in any pain, which was good, and despite seeming depressed, my sister says that he was in comparatively high spirits. She suggested that the whole trip was in the “win column”, both because of the treatment and the fact that his attitude seemed to improve for a few days.
I tried to capture the essence of all of that in two panels, with minimal text. That wasn’t easy, especially in the need to get expressiveness in the characters. I waffled on the art design for my father…in the end, I made Cap’s father look like him, with Inhuman patterned pajamas. It seemed like the right way to go.
The text is almost verbatim what was said.
Panel Two came out particularly expressive, and the webcomic has had almost all horizontal compoisitions for a bit, so I decided to post the panel without speech balloons. obviously, because it’s right above.
Tomorrow should see a Bonus Post (let’s see how fast I draw), getting back to Black History Month. “Homeward Bound” kind of took over the month of February, so I’d like to get in at least one more Black History Month post if I can.