Now, you feel loss everywhere: At the airport. Christmas morning. New Year's. It's what keeps you up at night. It's what scares you after yet another dream about Papa. (Though the panicked stress-induced dreams have been replaced by mundane ones of him doing things for you. You can't decide which is worse.)
If you close your eyes hard enough, you can see how Papa smiled at you peacefully that day on the subway. He gave you his seat. You can see his grand silhouette against your apartment window, checking the snow's progress. You can see his reflection in your own mirror, happily posing for another picture.
If you close them harder, you can see the ambulance. That eternal drive to the hospital. You can feel just how much you hated the doctors, that hallway, the nurses, the snow, the godforsaken traverse, every person who was allowed to laugh on their way to brunch, how much you hated all of New York.
If it's quiet, you can still hear the sound of Mom's voice when we pulled over. You can remember that awful call you made to Didi. You can imagine the stranger telling you it would be okay. That he would pray for Papa. Like a child, you remember hating him too.
That night, when you sat in someone's living room, surrounded by all those living except your father--whose voice you had heard just hours ago and was the only important one worth remembering--you weren't sure how another minute would pass without him. You didn't want another minute to pass without him.
And then, somehow, unknowingly, a whole year did.