Michael Chabon: “I love Mr. Spock because he reminds me of you, I told my father”

Michael Chabon in The New Yorker:

Ensign Spock, a young half-Vulcan science officer fresh out of Starfleet Academy and newly posted to the Enterprise, found himself alone in a turbolift with the ship’s formidable first officer, a human woman known as Number One. They were waiting for me to rescue them from the silence that reigns in all elevators, as universal as the vacuum of space.

I looked up from the screen of my iPad to my father, lying unconscious, amid tubes and wires, in his starship of a bed, in the irresolute darkness of an I.C.U. at 3 a.m. Ordinarily when my father lay on his back his abdomen rose up like the telescope dome of an observatory, but now there seemed to be nothing between the bed rails at all, just a blanket pulled as taut as a drum skin and then, on the pillow, my father’s big, silver-maned head. Scarecrow, after the flying monkeys had finished with him. His head was tilted upward and his jaw hung slack. All the darkness in the room seemed to pool in his open mouth.

Hey, Dad, I need a line, I said, breaking, if only in my head, the silence that reigned between us. I’m writing dialogue for Mr. Spock.

I’d tried talking aloud to my father a few times in the hours since he’d lost consciousness, telling him all the things that, I’d read, you were supposed to tell a dying parent.

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