A man looking after his wife.
Sometimes I would take her out to a restaurant to have something to eat. Out of the ether thick air of the institution, that hung dense and unyielding. The act of normalcy, like high tea on the banks of the Styx.
Glasses clinked over crisp, white tablecloths. We bow our heads and say prayers: “blessing to the father and to the son and to the holy spirit, as it was in the beginning it shall now and…”. Her dulled eyes would hint and implore the unspeakable: that the darkness would be stolen away, carmine hair restored, “the good old days”. And in the darkest hours, I feared she dreamt of sun in blinding brilliance and to be rid of this inharmonious refrain.
Plates are served under lunch. The process of eating, strained and unwieldy. I would create small pieces, “cut-up”, before her hands like ivory gripes clasped knife and fork and moved with the proclivity of a wind-up doll. We talked of family, war and crunch.
Before the storm I saw only joy I heard only the sound of laughter I knew nothing of fear or loneliness I was happy in the sense of essence and being rather than mood or fit. I never looked out at the horizon. Second tripped over second and the mechanism boomed loud above us. Wound on toward oblivion.
I remember when we were younger, she loved to watch the lilies outside our bedroom window being rocked in the morning’s breeze. She would read the papers to me while I changed for work, huddled in bed like porcelain rolled in cotton. Outside the city beat and the daily battle loomed.
button other cuff.
The problem with restaurants was moving her from wheelchair to car and visa versa. I always worried something might go wrong. That I might break her. The wheelchair might not have its brake properly down, the foot rests might unlatch, the cushioning might not be positioned correctly.
When all was done the leaden hours would lay to rest with the day, in the furthest corners of my memory. And I would return to the smoke, where leathered feet on concrete still beat.