The morning before they were due to leave, Myra sat down suddenly at the kitchen table and said, Sol, I don’t feel so good. Her face looked like half of it had been frozen. In the hospital, he held her hand and listened as the doctor said, It seems you’ve had a mild stroke, Mrs Whittaker. I’d like to keep you here for a week or so for some tests and observation. Sol was all for cancelling the trip, but Myra insisted he go without her. I’ll be fine, she said. Trudy will come with the kids and keep an eye on me. But what if something happens? said Sol, I’ll be on a boat. And I’m in a hospital, said Myra, I think they’ll be able to handle things without you. Look, she said, picking up a plastic spoon and waving it around, I can still feed myself. It’s only one week.
He relented. At home he stared at the suitcase Myra had half-packed: all he needed to add were his night shirt and toiletries. Next to the suitcase was the cruise brochure. Sol opened it to the first page and read: ‘Ships have been sailing from Seattle to Alaska since the gold rush. Now it’s your turn to follow in the wake of history on a vacation filled with glacier-carved fjords, forested islets and quaint ports.’ Inside there were vivid photographs of said fjords, islets and ports, as well as overladen buffets and entertainers wearing spangled tights. At six Myra rang from the hospital to remind him to pack his pills. Myra, he said, I don’t know if this is a good idea. Did you look at the brochure? she asked. Yes, he said. Did you see the fjords? Yes, he said. How about the ports? she said, don’t they look quaint? Yes, he said, but— You’ll love it, Sol, she said, I know you will. Didn’t we always say we’d go?
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