The enormous, dilapidated buildings that loomed over my apartment window were once homes to sparring giants of the technology industry that had fallen victim to brutal competition, rampant breaches of information and the superfluous hysteria of the impulsive stock market. The tragic history is all too close to home as my father used to work in a window-panelled, oval shaped building situated far inside the collection of relics.
During the afternoon, when the sun is at its peak, blinding light still glinted from its roof, but a closer inspection of the sight showed the rest of the panes had been smashed in, covering the ground in glass-flakes. The aftermath of Untara Tech shutting down and their jobless employees taking liquidating into their own arms. A stash of phones, laptops, computer chips, hard drives and all sorts of technology paraphernalia that my father acquired swamped the apartment. There is so much stuff that the living room couch became my bed, and Dad sleeps in the master bedroom with a mountain of boxes hanging over his bed. He claims it took him 23 days, from the day the company announced layoffs to his final day of work, for him to amass his fine collection, but his habit of stealing workplace items probably stretches back to his first day at work.
I know this because a lot of his findings were given to me as birthday or Christmas presents when I was younger. When I asked him why he kept them, he said they were priceless memorabilia of the projects he worked on. Knowing the devastation pack rats could wreak, Mom quickly left him before it got any worse, like any sane person would. The clamour of boxes and metal colliding together broke my gaze from the window to Dad approaching me. As he cleared his throat he rasped, “Good morning, Wyatt. Anything for breakfast?”I turned to see Dad in his saggy, blotched singlet that draped to his knees, his gangly arms dangling from the armholes like twigs. It was hard to believe that six years ago, the size XXL singlet could barely cover his pot belly and wisps of grey hair plastered his receding hairline and beads of sweat dribbled down his forehead like pouring rain.
Behind cracked glasses frames dark rings lined his bloodshot eyes. With every passing day his health only grew worse and worse. “Dad, are you okay?” I asked.