Sunday, June 05, 2005


Edson looks at the backs of his hands, big bones, skin that looked like it would tear if he pulled it.

"I have old man hands, when did that happen?"

He said it before remembering she wasn't there. How many times a day did that happen? Months now, and still he turns to tell her something, still thinks how she'll laugh when she hears what the kid down the block did, still asks nobody if this sweater goes with these pants.

Edson rubs his hands up and over his head. He needs a haircut. His daughter does that for him now, moving around behind him with the clippers, she doesn't know that he forgets it's her, that when he talks, he's talking to her mother, her fingers resting lightly on his neck, the clippers buzzing in his ear, she's in her black slip, her perfume riding lightly on top of the steam and soap from her shower, the kids rocketing down the hall outside the bathroom door, they're jungle beasts, flinging themselves against the walls, shouting and laughing, how will they ever grow up into useful adults? but she's leaning down to whisper in his ear, they still have time before church, and he covers her hand with his, the tiny bones, that smooth skin, he circles her little wrist easily with two fingers.

Edson wishes they wouldn't call today, his kids all grown up, he can see their eyes big with concern, they all have their ideas what he should be feeling, it would have been their anniversary and the whole world expects tears or I don't know what, but this doesn't belong to them, this is his, none of them knew her at nineteen, how her waist fit into his hands, hair falling across one eye, her smile didn't change in fifty years, the same up to the very last day, after all the poisonous fights and betrayals and makeups and silences, she could swipe the heart right out of his chest between one breath and the next with that smile.

"You remember Danny, that basketball player you liked so much," he started, then remembered again, each remembering a hammer, this is his, this belongs completely to him.


bricotrout said...

im not afraid of cancer, or heart disease, or ulcers, or kidney stones, or even alien abduction. stroke? yes. alzheimers? definately. somehow, here, it sounds peaceful. maybe its the run on sentences.

Daniel Heath said...

don't let c.b. fool you, brocotrout. she can make anything sound okay.

taking it down a notch here, c.b., I like the down-tempo.

Geo said...

It's not mine either. But I adore it.

Sylvana said...

Ew, ew, EW! " skin that looked like it would tear if he pulled it". EW! What a lovely image to put in my mind right before I eat breakfast. Thanks Chemical Billy.

Sylvana said...

*now crying into cereal* That was so sad and beautiful.