From Chapter 86 of Life of Pi...

"And what if..."

Chapter 87

Those were the last words on the file.

He had finished it only a week before he had died.

After my father's funeral, I was given the password to his computer. Before I knew it, I had accessed the story of my father's life. Sure, I had heard it plenty of times, but now I had his own words down on paper.

"Nick?" I turned my head from the computer.

"Yeah?" Pamela stood in the doorway to my office. Her hair was a dark brown, bordering on black, her eyes a shocking blue. Some weird mix of genes had given her that odd combination. She smelled of the latest fragrance from on of those popular designers. Vera Wang or something like that.

"A few of us are going out to grab a bite to eat. Jared and I want to know if you want to join us." I shook my head.

"Thanks for the offer, but I can't tonight." It was the truth. Sure, I wasn't doing anything with anyone else but tonight was set aside for something important.

"Alright, see you on Monday." I waved absentmindedly and closed what I was working on. Taking my time, I gathered my things and headed out.

The office was quiet as I closed the lights and walked out into the night. I walked over to the garage and they promptly brought me my car.

"So tonight's the night, eh?" I nodded at Jean and climbed into my car. Not long after I started driving, I was startled by the sound of my cell phone ringing. The voice on the other end was all too familiar.

"Nikhil."

"Usha."

"Have you gone already?" I stopped at a light and noticed a flower stand. As the light changed, I turned and quickly double-parked as I got a few flowers.

"I'm on my way now, Usha. I just picked up some flowers." On the other end I could hear some things falling and a child screaming. Probably her children, Sushila and Hari.

"I'm glad you're going this year, Nick." Another crash. "I must go. The children are causing a ruckus. Goodbye, Nikhil."

"Goodbye, Usha." I ended the conversation as I paid for the bouquet of flowers I had chosen. After my father died, we had decided to try and make a point to visit his grave every year on his birthday. It's the most we could do for him.

The leukemia was sudden for us all. They found it too late for anything to be done. One by one the days dwindled down until Easter Sunday a few years ago. We all knew that it was the end for him as he lay in bed, almost unable to open his eyes. He knew it too. He even joked about it to us.

"Maybe I can do as Jesus did and rise from the dead." He had laughed, which had turned into a coughing fit.

"Piscine..." my mother Meena had began.

"Now, Meena, don't you think that God would appreciate some joy in Heaven? Wouldn't you rather see me laughing than crying right now?." She had only nodded as a few tears began to roll down her face. People knew my father as insightful, over-analytic, and sometimes insane. What people didn't always see was the humorous man who loved his children. Usha was particularly close to him, and it hit harder to her than it did to me when we passed on.

I pulled into the cemetery and walked along the rows, passing tombstones with rocks on top, some with flowers, and one or two freshly dug graves. Nietzsche once said that a casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith proves nothing. If one were to take a casual stroll through a cemetery, you'd see that life is really short and all we come to is dust in the ground.

I approached my father's grave, looking at things that were already left there by Usha and my mother. A prayer rug, a cross of flowers, a statue of Shiva in his dancing manifestation Nataraja, and I added my bouquet of flowers to the memorial.