Body and Mind
I worked weekend nights and a couple of afternoon shifts during the week. Sometimes I requested more hours just to get away from home. Being away meant I didn’t have to deal with the sadness that lingered in our house.
The next two hours are the most precious I will ever spend with my father. He is alert and not visibly suffering. Though not a chatterbox, he converses with us all.
The last time I was in London, I kept passing store windows full of tea towels and souvenir mugs with the motto Keep Calm and Carry On. I once read that when the British government dreamed up the slogan at the onset of World War II, the populace was insulted at being given advice that went without saying.
If you are going to deal with the issue of health in the modern world, you are going to have to deal with much absurdity.
I’m at my father’s bedside, his hand resting in mine. His skin feels thin, but his nails grow thick and long, creeping a half inch beyond the rounded flesh. They’re the only part of him that seems healthy. How can the nails keep growing like this when his heart pumps barely enough blood to keep him alive?
I was never able to answer my mother when she asked how her Holocaust experience had affected me. And she deserves my good-faith attempt, albeit these many years late.
Then ahead I saw a small, dark shape perched on the sand, well back from the water. As I drew closer, the shape revealed itself to be a bird, sitting back on its tail feathers. It was vaguely penguin-like, about eighteen inches tall, with black back and head, white breast and cheeks.