Just as dad stuck out his tongue at Conchita, the automatic doors jerked open and Conchitaâ€™s Mom stepped out into the cold. Against the cold, Mom raised her shoulders, tucked her head beneath the collar of her coat, and closed the flap on her double-breasted winter coat.
Conchita wasnâ€™t sure why Mom had gone inside the hospital apart from Dad and her. All she knew was that Mom was supposed to talk to Dadâ€™s doctors about getting Dad out of the hospital.
â€œChita, run, here comes the wicked witch of the west on the chilly, west wind.â€ Eric raised his arms, drawing his hands back, wiggling his fingers as if he were casting a spell on Mom. â€œHello, my pretty.â€ Eric narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips.
â€œOK, Conchita, we need to get back.â€ Mom ignored Dad, approached Conchita, and put her arm around her back.
â€œNoooo. Iâ€™m melting.â€ Dad dropped to the ground and fell on his back. Dadâ€™s sweatshirt lifted up so that his stomach showed.
Conchita laughed then looked at Mom, knowing Mom wouldnâ€™t approve. Mom looked over at the nurse assigned to Dad. â€œWeâ€™ve got to go.â€
Dad quickly got to his feet and stood still as if frozen. â€œLook, itâ€™s Mona Lisa. Never an emotion.â€ Dad pointed to Conchita. â€œChita, my dear, thou musteth depart.â€
The nurse reached for Dadâ€™s arm. â€œEric, itâ€™s time to go back to the unit.â€
â€œUnhand me you damn fool. Iâ€™m going to kiss my daughter good night.â€ Dad bent down and whispered to Conchita. â€œSanta Claus is a mystery, and Iâ€™m history.â€
He kissed her on the forehead and looked up at Maria. â€œAre you leaving so soon, without your broom?â€ Mom bent down in front of Conchita, rewrapped Conchitaâ€™s scarf more snugly, and they left.
Dad waved goodbye in his bathroom slippers.