(Written a year ago as a journaling exercise. Silly me, I should have pulled it out for Father's Day. Seems I'm always a day late and a dollar short!)
My father and I are trying to get the window air conditioner pried loose so they can bring it in for service. He and Mom have been trying to get it loose by themselves. Had I not called and interrupted them, they would still be working on it, just the two of them, stubborn old souls who do not yet know they are not as young and strong as they used to be. Dad is outside the window in the heat, bearing the bulk of the load. We are both working quietly and intently--stabbing and gouging at the caulk that holds the unit to the window frame. We have one side loosened and have already tried "man-handling" the unit by jerking on it, hoping the caulk will magically release its grip on the air conditioner. But that has not happened.
The trick is to get enough of the caulk pulled away and then to grab the tail and pull it up like one long piece of string. Dad does not complain. He does mention that the caulking must have been very cheap since he used so much of it and says he has told Mom he will not caulk it again when they re-install the repaired air conditioner unit. And we laugh, because we both know he will have to seal it so that no lizards get into the house and "get" Mom.
We've loosened it and my father takes the heavy end and together we move slowly down the hall. I am walking backwards and he is concerned about me running into something and asks if I am okay. I am concerned for him. The load is not too heavy for him but it is a load and I can hear the measured sound of his breath as we get closer to the car.
Having loaded the air conditioner into the car, I watch my father go back into the house and I know that he is seventy years old; he can't be Superman anymore; and I don't want to lose my father.